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Immune system book

It was just over a year ago, a comment was made in the ‘About’ section of this blog about the metaphysical reasons for Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  The Metaphysics of MS will be the first of many articles we will look at regarding autoimmune disease.  Leave me a comment if you’d like to read the metaphysical cause of an autoimmune disease you have or would like more information on. 

Identifying which autoimmune disease you might have can sometimes be a difficult process.  Symptoms can be vague because autoimmune diseases can present themselves in so many different ways, affecting the thyroid, the brain, the skin, or other organs.  If you suffer from an autoimmune disease, most likely it started off quite subtly – like fatigue, insomnia, a bit of muscle pain, headaches, a little dizziness, and cramps with diarrhea. Then, (days or months later) you noticed the pain never went away and you felt extreme fatigue, joint pain, more frequent headaches, memory lapses and lower back and bladder pain. You saw your own doctor and then another and another hoping one of them would explain and resolve your suffering.  Initially, you were given anti-depressants, and antibiotics, and told to rest.  You seemed to get better, then two or three weeks after, your symptoms worsened baffling your doctor.  With all this going on, you may feel trapped in your own personal hell!

Christine, 38, had suffered with extreme fatigue for a year before contacting me.  Even though she had 8 – 10 hours sleep, she felt more tired in the morning then when she went to bed.  Although Christine was put on a nutritional and detox program by her naturopath, she didn’t respond well to the treatment.  I think it’s not only important to detox the internal organs, such as liver the pancreas and intestines, but also to release any repressed emotions of pain, grief and unresolved trauma:

“….I don’t have good memories of my childhood, which bothers me a lot. Not one really happy memory, even though my siblings tell me of a happy childhood. All I have is a general sense of fear, of not knowing who I was, of having to shut down to fit in and be accepted. I cried easily because I was very sensitive, so I was always a subject of a joke, or my siblings threatened to tell my parents I was crying. What I remember most was being constantly verbally attacked or silenced.

… Yes, my entire endocrine system is messed up, thyroid, adrenals and the lymphatic system. My previous doctor was mainly treating my thyroid issue, but I am under a care of a new doctor now, and she is investigating everything. I had tons of blood work done, even genetic tests. My blood test showed antibodies for Mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria, Epstein-Barr virus (had mono when young), Lyme disease, Hashimoto, which I already knew, and looks like I m pre-diabetic, which can be reversed. Oh boy! The good news is I don’t have arthritis, and the joint pain and swelling can be from the inflammation caused by the Hashimoto or even Lyme.

 “One of the most complex and important systems in the body, the immune system is comprised of the lymph glands and nodes, the thymus gland, tonsils, spleen and white blood cells.  The main function of the immune system is to recognize foreign substances (antigens)—such as viruses or bacteria—and prevent them from doing harm.  This is the ability to protect yourself against illness.  It is an awareness of the relationship between inside and outside, to what extent you are influenced by that relationship, and the ability to discriminate between what is you or is not you—between the self and other than self.  If the immune system is overactive toward external antigens, such as pollen, then an allergy can develop; if it’s underactive, then an infection develops. If the immune system is overactive against an internal antigen, then it can start destroying the body, as in autoimmune diseases; if it is underactive then abnormal body cells will develop, as in cancer.” YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND ~ Deb Shapiro

Most of us have been wounded by our childhood experiences and/or relationships in life. With little emotional stability, we suffer because it hurts, and often that hurt is felt deeply in the core of our being.  It can cause some serious damage to our personal power if these wounds erode our self-worth and our self-respect.  If we take on guilt or blame or feel inadequate, we can become extremely defensive; saying things to loved ones, we can’t take back.  But when our deep feelings and needs emerge, we may unconsciously fend them off angrily, impulsively and sometimes even sexually.  Often though, we deny our needs for closeness and intimacy and try to be emotionally self-sufficient. But that’s not what we really want.

“What’s wrong with me? Why did this happen to me?” You cry out. First of all, nothing is wrong with you.  There are countless situations and circumstances (starting at your childhood) that can ‘unconsciously’ do some serious damage to your state of being. Perhaps you suffered abuse or betrayal, perhaps someone or something let you down and made you feel unworthy. Perhaps you were violated in unmentionable ways and you feel the guilt or shame, which is way too much to bear, yet you don’t know where to stuff it.  These are the kind of wounds that create dis-ease, infect our self-worth, taint our confidence, embitter us and make us cry ‘woe is me!’ to suffer through life so needlessly.

When the immune system’s energy is distracted from its normal functions to deal with the surges of adrenaline (crisis) in the body, it produces large amounts of *cortisol which, in high levels, is known to kill millions of antibodies as they flow through our body.  Without the antibodies to protect us, we become more vulnerable to illness.

(*When you’re frightened your brain sends a chemical to your adrenal glands to prepare your body for fight or flight. The adrenals release the chemical messenger cortisol in preparation to heal damaged tissue and stimulate your immune system.  But too much cortisol will cause inflammation in the body, not the kind of immune system response we want for healing.  This hormone can dehydrate us and cause us to use up more nutrients and vitamins, not leaving much behind for healing to take place.)

If we are very stressed or very toxic, we will use more stress to remain high to avoid the crash, hence thrill-seekers living on the edge until they burn out, develop serious disease, or find a bearable way to deal with the constant struggle within themselves. “If I don’t keep a constant grip on myself, I’m afraid of reacting with rage, suffering depression or doing something crazy”.

You need, we all need activities to counterbalance our toxic emotional stress and all the day to day demands of life. For example: taking time for self to have a hot bath, meditate, go for a walk or even hang out with friends. If our nervous system is wound up, we will have tension and in all likelihood stress hormones in the blood.

“… in a wide range of autoimmune diseases, the body’s immune cells lose their ability to read the difference between your own healthy cells and the foreign bacteria or viruses – or other unrecognizable microscopic organisms from the environment around you – that enter your body. They don’t stop at merely disabling these invading foreign agents, they go on to destroy the body’s own healthy tissue in deadly rounds of friendly fire. For reasons scientists are only now beginning to understand, the immune system goes on an erratic rampage, disabling the body itself.” THE AUTOIMMUNE EPIDEMIC ~ By Donna Jackson Nakazawa

In the upcoming articles, we’ll look at immune disorders/diseases and the metaphysical effects they have on the mind/body.  Some autoimmune disorders have been written in this blog; however, we’re going to return to these, review and possibly expand what’s already been written.  Links to the previous autoimmune diseases will be shown at the bottom of this article.

We’ll look at, in no particular order, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis, Alopecia, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn’s disease, Diabetes (Type 1), Fibromyalgia, thyroid imbalances, Allergies, Parkinson’s Disease, Lupus, Scleroderma and Autoimmune skin disorders, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, Pernicious Anemia, Multiple Sclerosis, Myasthenia Gravis, Lyme disease, Endometriosis, Interstitial Cystitis, Raynaud’s Phenomenon,  Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and many more. There are an estimated 100 different autoimmune disorders though the symptoms vary depending on the type of illness. Most involve inflammation within the body and a general lack of well-being, but they can be tough to diagnose medically.

“Our body’s ability to fight disease is continuously changing. The power of our immune system waxes and wanes, affected by stress, old age, the time of day and our state of mind.  Our immune system is in a constant flux; our health balanced on a tightrope.  For example, the number of immune cells in our blood tends to peak in the evening and is at its lowest in the morning. There are many changes that happen to our immune system during the night, as our body enters a different state of activity and energy use, and in turn our immune system seems to be affect by how we sleep. Reduced sleep – less than five hours per night – correlates with an increased risk of the common cold and pneumonia.”  The Beautiful Cure: Revealing the Immune System’s Secrets and How They Will Lead to a Revolution in Health and Wellness  ~ by Daniel M. Davis

From a cold to a cut, to a virus, your body’s natural defences and immune system works 24/7 to keep your body healthy and balanced.  It’s an intelligent system that is capable of recognizing (most of the time) a mutated cell from a normal one.  But with autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakes healthy cells and tissues as something foreign .. resulting in a chronic inflammatory attack on your muscles and cells.  Somewhere, somehow a breakdown in communication has occurred.

We’ve learned that the mind consists of the conscious, subconscious and unconscious.  Therefore, we have to accept that every thought we think, consciously, or unconsciously is automatically turned into electrical impulses that affect the brain and the central nervous system.  Simply put, the thoughts you think daily create your reality and your body.  The shape of your body is a graphic expression of how you feel and think.  It reflects your history; its structure is molded by your individual experiences of life.   If your thoughts/emotions and beliefs/behaviors haven’t been processed or unresolved, you may manifest the imbalance physically. Who you are is unique, that’s why autoimmune dis-eases affect everyone differently: your body, your health, tells the story of your life – your fears and aspirations, your deepest secrets and experiences.  That’s why immune disorders usually have a multitude of symptoms, they aren’t the same for everyone.

“The activity of the immune system in monitoring and protecting our health is a cellular-level operation on many fronts. The dance of all the different kinds of immune cells in the body is a dazzling tour de force by a multitalented corps de ballet, so well trained and exquisitely choreographed, they take the breath away.” Belleruth Naparstek Guided Imagery 

When we are in harmony with our higher-selves, we are filled with physical and inner strength, courage, kindness, humility and self-control.  This incredible dance of power helps us overcome symptoms of fatigue, depression, illness, and despair. It has the ability to bring body, mind and soul together as one.

Louise Hay, Inna Segal, Debbie Shapiro, Mona Liza Scultz, M.D., Carol Ritberger. M.D., and many, many more are making it known that stress related illnesses are at their highest when we lose control of our lives, feel depressed, lonely, helpless and hopeless. With chronic low self-esteem, you may feel failure in the stomach, the pressure of self-blame in your heart or the pain of shame in your throat.

“We don’t yet understand all the ways in which brain chemicals are related to emotions and thoughts, but the salient point is that our state of mind has an immediate and direct effect on our state of body. We can change the body by dealing with how we feel. If we ignore our despair, the body receives a “die” message. If we deal with our pain and seek help, then the message is “Living is difficult but desirable”, and the immune systems works to keep us alive.” Bernie S. Siegel, M.D.

It’s possible you’ve lived with crippling insecurities, or heavy responsibilities that have severely suppressed your joyful, artistic and creative side of life.  As a child your self-esteem may have been severely bruised, your creative talent inhibited or your fun and happiness extremely limited. Growing up you may have felt insignificant or unworthy with no motivation or sense of pride.   You may have caught more than your share of viruses, colds and flu’s, now your immune system is all screwed up.  Everyday, you feel exhausted, you cannot find enjoyment in anything, yet you are under constant pressure to do or be something ..

OR

Perhaps you were inflicted with some type of childhood limitation, a congenital disability or even a restricted upbringing. Maybe you were separated from your parents when you were young. Feelings of anger and of being abandoned may have never discharged from your body, this energy found its way in to the weakest part of your body, the joints and surrounding muscles as well as the elasticity in the body.

“The immune system begins to break down when you feel insecure, experience inner conflict, feel pressured, push instead of allow or feel threatened and manipulated.

Here you need to learn to focus within and allow the innate wisdom of your body to notify you as to when it needs to work and when it needs to rest. Focus on staying true to yourself, and have the courage to stand up for yourself and for what you believe. Practice saying no others, as always saying yes can compromise your well-being. Aim to live in balance, fulfill your own needs and desires before worrying about others”. The Secret Language Of Your Body, The Essential Guide to Health and Wellness ~ Inna Segal

If you want to receive healing you’ll need to be open to it on all those levels, especially actively participating and working with your-Self. Mentally and emotionally, you may need to seek therapy to heal and follow the doctor and/or therapist’s advice to get well.  Physical wounds can also mean you’re dealing with spiritual wounds that need cleansing and mending; all these together say ‘YOU CHOOSE TO HEAL’.

 

Links

Stop hating yourself https://www.psychalive.org/stop-hating-yourself/
Feeling Unworthy?  How to find your way to freedom https://gailbrenner.com/2011/01/feeling-unworthy/
Chronic stress puts your health at risk https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037

https://drhyman.com/blog/2010/07/30/autoimmune-disease/

https://helloclue.com/articles/cycle-a-z/the-immune-system-and-the-menstrual-cycle

LINKS To Autoimmune Diseases on this site

Arthritis

candidiasis/candida

Chronic Fatigue and Fibroymyalgia

Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Part 2

Diabetes

Thyroid – Hypothryoid, Hyperthryroid

Irritable-Bowel-Syndrome-IBS

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Part 2

Prostate Part 2

Psoriasis

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You know what it’s like. You go to bed, tired and yet you lie there for hour upon hour, tossing and turning, trying desperately to go to sleep. The more you try to go to sleep the more sleep evades. When you finally drop off, it seems like only minutes before the alarm clock wakens you to face another day. Many of us are trapped on this merry-go-round of lack of sleep and mind/body exhaustion. The harder we try the more anxious we become. 

OR…maybe falling asleep when you go to bed isn’t the problem. The problem is, you’re always waking up like clockwork between 1:00 am and 3:00 am every morning. We may not realize it, but our bodies have many duties to perform while we are sleeping—between 1:00 and 3:00 am is when the liver rejuvenates itself—to do so, it needs glycogen. Glycogen is stored within the muscles and liver as a form of glucose; its role is to increase blood sugar levels in the body when they drop. Therefore, it’s possible waking up at 3:00 am every morning is an indicator of low blood sugar, which causes our cortisol levels to spike.

 (As blood sugar drops it’s the liver’s job to make glucagon, a substance that triggers the breakdown of ‘complex carbohydrates’ glycogen into glucose or blood sugar.   The glucose then streams out into the blood, raising the sugar level again. If a person’s blood sugar is unstable, leading towards hypoglycemia then psychologically there’s a problem with the liver, such as a loss of stamina fatigue and quick to anger. Frustration, anger, resentment, emotional turmoil and repressed emotions can all lead to the stagnation of chi or life-force energy, when this happens our blood circulation is affected and can cause us to suddenly wake-up from a deep sleep.) More on the liver later in the article…

“Have you just lost your job? Has your rent increased unexpectedly? Have you lost a loved one. Has your reputation been tarnished? Did you think you’d be further along in life by now? If so you are probably blaming yourself for not being more in control! Any and all of these so-called setbacks teach us that we cannot control the change in our lives, we can only control how we handle that change.” When Life Changes Or You Wish It Would ~ Carol Adrienne

How well you sleep affects how you feel both physically and mentally—sleep affects how you behave, how well you handle the ordinary stress of life, how well you can get along with other people, and how happy and productive you are. If you are waking up feeling deprived of sleep and drag through the day in an irritable fog, then you have a sleep problem—regardless of the number of hours you spend in bed with your eyes closed.

METAPHYSICAL CAUSES OF INSOMNIA

Major life changes can cause insomnia, such as the loss of a job, financial setback, serious illness, divorce or the death of someone dear.   All these come at a time when we must face certain pain or self-concepts we’ve pushed down into our subconscious.   When we have suffered defeat, setbacks and other losses we are called to deal with painful unresolved personal issues. We are forced to confront our fears about ourselves—fears that have been ignored and rejected. Shame or fear has so much power our former self has little value at the moment.

“Insomnia (long-term)—Inability to relax. Feeling unsafe and unable to let go. Worrying, playing things over in your mind, dissecting situations. Feeling scattered, fearful, anxious, on guard. Harboring feelings of guilt and resentment.” The Secret Language of Physical Ailments ~ Inna Segal

Most people who suffer from sleeplessness have tremendous energy but they frit it all away in a hyperactive kind of way. When tensions accumulate, chronic insomniacs work harder to repress their growing emotional pain and anxiety. In a sense they’re trying to distract themselves so their attention stays occupied—the problem is they pump out more and more energy, becoming more anxious—in a frustrating way.   Most insomniacs are gifted and intelligent but they do not stay with something long enough as they get bored easily and move on to something new. Without much sleep, concentration and focus become increasingly difficult for them and all those great ideas they’ve thought of aren’t always followed through.

Excess touches every area of their lives, including measures to protect their health, which is very important to them. The problem is, they will try everything in their pursuit to happiness—unfortunately this throws the pendulum the other way—they become unhappier—which causes more anxiety. The more anxious they become, the more they lose energy; the lower their energy the more they experience fear and the cycle starts all over again. Anxiety and tension is a downward spiral fueled by fear and lacks conscious understanding.

“Insomnia is defined as chronic sleeplessness, or sleep deficient in either quantity or quality. Psychological studies have proven that insomniacs are generally emotional and anxiety-ridden. If you suffer from frequent insomnia, your sleeplessness probably reflects restlessness in your waking life. You are trying to stay awake so that you will resolve the issues that are preoccupying you. Once you understand that sleep brings comfort and solutions, you will find you are determined to settle the unrest in your life.” Your Body’s Telling You: Love Yourself ~ Lise Bourbeau

We all have our little quirks of habits and behaviors that we know we’d be better off without. We all wish we had more self-control, but when thoughts spin out of control, and become so intense, they take over, against our will. When logic can’t get a grip on something, we go into a tizzy and when this happens our intuitive side is unable to grab the attention of our conscious or unconscious minds.

I’ve noticed many insomniacs become deeply upset over people’s lack of awareness and consideration. They become disturbed by actions that dishonor or destroy life: actions that cause harm to animals, people, and the planet. According to many insomniacs, there should not be war, violence, poverty or starvation on the planet. People should not be hurting or killing one another and some feel the world is dark and hostile. For this reason, they become reclusive, while others become angry, frustrated or turn to drugs or alcohol which causes them to become even more lost, confused, depressed and sleepless.

 “Insomnia is associated with feelings of fear and guilt and not trusting the process of life. If you have trouble with insomnia coupled with anxiety, you can calm your nerves and sleep better with the affirmation “I lovingly release the day and slip into peaceful sleep, knowing tomorrow will take of itself.” All is Well, Heal Your Body with Medicine, Affirmations, and Intuition ~ Louise Hay, Mona Lisa Schulz

Some insomniacs tend to be quiet and shy on the outside while a great deal of inner processing is mentally going on inside. They’re afraid to open up to others and enjoy their privacy (doing intellectual pursuits such as reading, studying, learning) and withdraw from crowds and social settings. But they know on a deep level, they need to mingle with people. They just don’t know how.

WHAT IF….INSOMNIA IS CAUSED BY SOMETHING ELSE?

When suffering chronic insomnia, what else could be going on that we aren’t aware of? Of course if we’ve been so stressed out for most of the day, it’s natural if we’ve found no other outlet to get rid of this excess energy it will still be there when we try to fall asleep. And of course anxiety so extreme will make us more tense and angry about not getting sleep. Anxiety appears in 100’s of disguises and the more tense and angry we get, the more cortisol our body will produce.

If the body is tired, the energy we get from food will not be absorbed or circulated in the tissues properly. Although it is true that the nervous systems relies upon the breakdown of glucose for energy, its ability to function properly will also affected by the kinds of foods (fuel) being utilized in other tissues of the body. Hormones, like the rest of our bodies are created from the food we eat. In order to create all the hormones we need, we have to get enough of the nutrients they’re actually composed, and to make the necessary enzymes to affect the production, metabolism and functioning of our hormones. We can’t do that as well if we’re sleep deprived.

The hormones we’re concerned about in regard to insomnia, is stress hormones that cause too much of an inflammatory response to the body—increasing heart rate, constricting blood vessels and diverting blood blow from the stomach and digestive tract. These stress hormones, in particular cortisol, are secreted from the adrenal glands when we are frightened or in pain but can also occur when we’ve been highly stimulated by ‘too much of a good thing”. Too much stress can cause disease but it can also be caused by disease which means stress is not just psychologically based.

When we are under an enormous amount of stress it also weakens our mental processes. When we are under stress, cortisol levels rise and testosterone levels decrease in both men and women. DHEA, a hormone critical for brain and immune function is also suppressed under great stress. You can have your DHEA levels tested and if low, you can supplement with DHEA, as well as 5HTP and this should improve your sleep quality and protect the brain from excess cortisol, mental clarity and energy returned.

Hypothyroidism and hormonal changes that come with PMS and menopause are strong factors that induce brain fog in women. Children and adults who have experienced injuries to the head and neck can also experience symptoms of brain fog. Poor diet, hypoglycemia, metabolic deficiencies and infections also have a significant role in brain fog.

Calcium is essential for the relaxation of nerve tissue, whereas magnesium is very important in the normal function of the brain, spinal cord, and all the nerves. Our average daily intake of magnesium appears to be only half the adult requirement. Many don’t know that alcohol causes a high loss of magnesium, nervousness resulting from this is a common symptom among social drinkers. Magnesium deficiencies are also produced by meals made of ‘enriched’ white bread, macaroni, spaghetti, noodles, tapioca, sugar, honey and hydrogenated fats…this can cause insomnia as these foods cause a cortisol overload making us feel high strung and unable to sleep.

“The idea that stress is completely psychological is not scientifically accurate and it ignores the significant role of internal inflammation as a cause of imbalance in our stress-hormone levels. You see, the hormone that our body secretes in times of stress is the same hormone it uses to resolve inflammation. This hormone, called cortisol, is secreted by our adrenal glands. The irony in this is that taking anti-inflammatory medications – your average everyday painkillers – causes intestinal-tract inflammation by inhibiting the enzymes necessary for the intestinal tract to replenish and repair itself, and eventually can lead to chronic inflammation. The overuse of antibiotics can also cause intestinal-tract damage, and the average, imbalanced American diet of processed foods, fast foods, caffeine, and alcohol also contributes to intestinal-tract inflammation as well as systemic inflammation in our bodies.” THE STRESS EFFECT ~ Richard Weinstein, D.C.

Since every aspect of our lifestyle can affect every aspect of our lives’ for instance the food we eat, the stresses and chemical pollutants that get in our bodies, we need to look at any unusual mental and emotional reactions in regard to a person’s health:

  • 1) Food intolerances can strongly affect our emotions
  • 2) Airborne chemicals can affect the body’s tissues, such as: pollutants, drugs, allergies or infections;
  • 3) Stress creates a erratic nervous system or brain;
  • 4) Lack of sufficient sleep will deprive us of the body’s ability to repair tissue, necessary to restore the cells’ normal ability to create energy.

 “The connective tissue of the body undergoes a daily repair process that occurs while we are sleeping. A consistent pattern of insomnia inhibits the ability of these tissues to heal, and the likelihood of achieving joint stability is greatly reduced. And not only is it the connective tissue of joints that are of concern, but…also the intestinal-tract lining and other tissues of the body that are not repaired if we are not sleeping.” THE STRESS EFFECT ~ Richard Weinstein, D.C.

RESTLESS SLEEP

Whenever we feel trapped in a situation, we may either lie awake night at night, churning with anger or anxiety or sleep 12 hours a day without ever feeling rest. Do you feel pressured, impatient, waiting for things to get better? Or are you bursting with ideas and wanting to do everything yesterday.   When you lie down does it feel like your body is rushing out of control? Do you suffer from weather/time changes, depression or anxiety, external noises, extremes in temperature, emotional or physical pain? Then chances are, you may suffer from a restless sleep or wake in the early hours and can’t get back to sleep.

I don’t think there is a human on this planet that hasn’t suffered from insomnia in one way or another. It could be those nights when you had to sleep alone, or the neighbors dog keeps barking; too many dreams or nightmares created a restless sleep and of course jet lag and problems sleeping in a different bed.

Approximately one out of three people will report having some problem falling asleep, and because most of us have insomnia in times of stress, sleeplessness is usually known to be “in the mind.” When your conscious mind is full of fear, worry, and anxiety, negative emotions that lay repressed are released in your subconscious mind. They flood the conscious mind with a sense of panic, foreboding and despair—their purpose—to instill fear.

“Fear is anxiety, nervousness, a sense of inadequacy, fidgeting, experiencing terror. You have fears that you can prop up with logic, like fear of losing your job, losing your property, embarrassing yourself in front of others, or fear of harm coming to the people, animals, landscape, and things you love. You can provide reasons why these fears are valid and people understand. Yet sometimes your fear doesn’t have any reason. It comes out of nowhere. It just hits you.

 The function of fear is to frighten you. That’s its job. When it does its job, you lose your strength. You lose a sense of humor and playfulness. There is no lightness or joy in your system anymore. Your inner posture crumbles. You feel you don’t have the resources you need and you can’t improvise.” Awake Mind, Open Heart ~ Cynthia Kneen

WHEN RELAXING IS UNRELAXING

Some of us get tense when we try to relax. Just the thought of letting go makes us restless, uptight or upset to the point of crying. Are you so intent on maintaining control that you can’t relax?

 “Sleep is a natural process, and “trying” will have no positive effect. Trying will probably aggravate the insomnia, because the harder you try and the less successful you are, the more frustrating the whole enterprise becomes.

 There’s a very profound reason for this: Trying is not the way nature functions. The Earth doesn’t try to go around the sun, nor does the seed try to sprout into a sapling. Nature functions with effortless ease, invariably taking the path of least resistance. This is the principle of least action and maximum efficiency, and it’s the one to use when we want to fall asleep.

 There, the attitude you should adopt once you’ve gotten into bed is that which I call “not minding.” The key to achieving this frame of mind is a total lack of self-consciousness. In other words, don’t watch yourself, don’t monitor yourself, don’t become a commentator on your dilemma, and above all, don’t keep looking at the clock.

 Instead, just rest comfortably, not minding, and use this attitude as a way of placing yourself in nature’s hands. Simply lie in bed with your eyes closed, not mind whether you’re awake or asleep. The mere act of remaining motionless with your eyes closed, even if you’re feeling anxious or restless, actually provides the body with significant benefits.” Restful Sleep: The complete Mind/Body Program for Overcoming Insomnia

PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS THAT ARE KNOWN TO DISRUPT SLEEP

Most people with an autoimmune disease have hyperactive rather than low immune function. This would explain why many have stuffy noses, multiple allergies and unpredictable reactions to prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, and symptoms that change rapidly over time.

Other culprits include, caffeine, alcohol, and medications as well as erratic hours—a fast paced social life or frequent job-shift changes. A few insomniacs are simply five or six hour sleepers, but constant stress and worrying can easily raise it to eight hours a night.

Insomnia can be caused from physical ailments such as allergies, anemia, apnea, body pain (e.g., chronic fatigue, diabetes, arthritis, spinal stenosis, fibromyalgia, lupus, etc.), bruxism (grinding teeth) headaches, IBS, hypoglycemia, hyper/hypothyroidism, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, menstrual pain, etc…. Taking sleeping pills may actually aggravate some of these disorders, particularly sleep apnea a potentially life-threatening interruption in sleeping.

Of the many sleep-disturbing problems, there is a condition known as “Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) If you sleep alone or with someone who sleeps soundly, you may not know that you have it, and may need to have a session in a sleep lab to determine if you have OSA or not.

When we sleep not only do our muscles relax but so do those of the throat. As the throat muscles relax, the air passages narrow. If they narrow enough so that the walls touch, air passing through will cause the walls to vibrate. Snoring usually results but in some people the narrowing is so extensive that the airway walls collapse completely. No air can get through, so the sleep returns to a higher level of sleep; muscle tone increases, the airway opens, and the sleeper, draws a breath. But for some this is a scary experience as they feel a choking sensation and try to inhale but their throat is closed up.

People with OSA breath intermittently when they sleep and that is why they sleep so lightly and hardly ever experience deeper sleep. As a result, they suffer from sleep deprivation and are exhausted during the day. If you think you have it, you should contact your doctor as OSA is very treatable.

Sometimes autoimmune diseases, are hyperactive rather than a low immune function. This would explain why these people can’t sleep as many suffer from stuffy noses, multiple allergies and unpredictable reactions to prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, and symptoms that change rapidly over time.

CORTISOL OVERLOAD

 “There is a daily cyclical rise and fall of cortisol levels that govern our wakefulness throughout the day and night. Cortisol is excitatory; it arouses us and wakes us up. Blood levels of cortisol have been shown to increase between 50 and 160 percent within thirty minutes of waking; that produces the powerful jolt of arousal needed to wake us up and get us moving in the morning. Then cortisol levels decline as the day wears on and reach their lowest point in the evening, allowing us to rest, relax and sleep.”The Insomnia Solution: The Natural, Drug-Free Way to a Good Night’s Sleep ~ Michael Krugman

Whenever our blood sugars drop below normal, (hypoglycemia) the body reacts by sending the stress alarm off. When this happens, the hypothalamus, in the brain, signals the nervous system to send you sugar—fast! Your sympathetic nervous system goes into high gear. Cortisol, is secreted by the adrenal glands which are located atop the kidneys. When cortisol peaks, it brings you to a higher state of awareness and when it does that, while you’re sleeping, it’s going to wake you up!

Is insomnia emotionally based or could there be other chemical or physical problems within the body causing your sleeplessness. Cortisol imbalances have been linked to obesity, diabetes, depression, heart disease, insomnia, autoimmune diseases like chronic fatigue syndrome, thyroid disorders, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome and even osteoporosis. Cortisol also causes an array of symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, fatigue, mental confusion, irritability, nervousness, poor concentration, muscle aches, heart palpitations, sweating, and a whole lot more.

The body is governed by a highly complex network of endocrine glands and energy fields; these energy fields working together as one unique powerful system affecting us spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.   So in truth the potential for breakdown is limitless. Everything that affects the body affects the mind and everything that affects the mind, affects the body.

Many health ailments that crop up later in our lives usually have to do with painful memory patterns programmed in our cells that make our bodies tense and in an up-tight survival mode—unable to stay in the present our minds jump back and forth between the past and the future, forcing adrenaline to start racing through our bodies. Under this intense stress, our bodies release ten times the amount of norepinephrine (cortisol) and epinephrine (adrenaline). These two stress hormones deeply affect our sleep quality; causing our minds, like virtual hurricanes, to spin out of control. For some insomniacs the culprit could be a compromised immune system (autoimmune disease) or other factors such as a car accident or some kind of emotional trauma that’s upset the body clock.

CORTISOL IMPACTS THE LIVER

Cortisol does have a huge impact on the liver, which has an important role in regulating blood sugars and removing toxic substances from your bloodstream. If the liver can’t function at its best, it gets weary and tired. Not only is it the breeding ground for negative thoughts and feelings, it physically affects the blood, the immune system and your ability to fight infections.

“The functioning of the liver is very involved in addiction behavior, whether the addiction be to food, alcohol or drugs, as it is the liver that removes toxins from the blood and deals with th excess fat and sugar intake.   The emotional tension that gives rise to the need for release through an addiction is felt here, as this tension may be based on anger and resent (towards the world, or towards specific individuals). Often the toxins are ingested through the addiction as a way of hiding from those toxins already in our system: hate, frustration, rage, incompetence, self-dislike, hurt, greed and a need for power. By taking in external toxins we do not have to admit to, or face up to, what is already inside us.

 The liver is closely connected to the third chakra, that which focuses on power and self identity. By transforming these qualities we are able to rise above them to the highest levels.   But it can be just as easy to become a victim of these energies as it can be difficult to transform them. The liver then reflects the anger and confusion experienced in trying to find ourselves and our purpose.” Deb Shapiro The BodyMind Workbook

The liver, the largest organ in the body, is responsible for up to 500 different vital functions. Not only does it govern the secretion of bile, the formation of blood, and the production of heat, it provides muscle fuel (glycogen), processes dietary fats and manufactures vitamin A. The liver also creates and stores amino acids, proteins, fats and cholesterol, which are used in the creation of hormones. It also

deals with detoxification; so important is this process that if caffeine or certain drugs were injected into ‘exit’ vessels leading to the heart, we would be dead within minutes. Inject them into the ‘entrance’ vessels of the liver, and the ‘sting’ is extracted within six to ten seconds—the time it takes for the blood to pass through the organ. The liver is the only organ that has the ability to regenerate itself, so it is appropriate that it’s known as the organ of Spring, which is all about rebirth and new life.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) The liver meridian starts at the big toe and travels up the leg, circles the sexual organs and enters the lower abdomen…it then connects with the liver and gallbladder, moves up the lungs, curves around the mouth and then branches out to each eye. “If you consistently wake up between 1:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m., this may indicate liver toxicity or a congested liver, as these are the hours when the liver is most active”. FAT LOSS REVOLUTION ~ Paula Owens … also many woman wake up sweating during this time due to menopausal symptoms.

The liver represents our deeper self and emotions. It’s involved with family affairs; our health and it takes part in every battle, especially excessive ones. When it is affected, our whole body becomes congested and sensitive. Do you suffer shoulder pain?   The liver is linked, especially to the right shoulder via the nervous system…it’s also linked to the elbow. This is one of the ways it communicates to us through the body.

The liver is known as the receptor of family guilt and the concerns of our deeper self. Depending on our genes and poor eating habits the liver will set off specific attitudes and emotional reactions. It houses all our memories, emotions, pitfalls, death of loved ones, illnesses, etc.,   It can cause doubt and uncertainty about our life and lean us more to the past then to the future. It affects our self esteem and the ground we stand on.

The gallbladder meridian starts at the outer corner of the eye, goes to the ear, runs back and forth over the scalp and then down the length of the body where it zig-zags at the hip, continues down the outside of the leg and ends between the fourth and fifth toes. The gallbladder meridian time is between 11:00 pm and 1:00 A.M., if balanced, we sleep soundly and undisturbed; unbalanced, we may suffer indigestion, migraines, tinnitus, hip, back or joint pain.

The gallbladder meridian is geared towards action. It gives to the body, flexibility, coordination and balance (see how it zig zags at the hip).   This meridian runs down the sides of the body so that whenever we lift one foot of the ground in walking and running, it supports the other side so we aren’t off balance. It also keeps the hips level, strengthens the shoulders and supports the sideways bending of the neck. The gallbladder meridian is one of the most powerful meridians in the body. .

I’ve included pictures of the gallbladder and liver meridians to help you see and understand how they both move within the body. Both of these meridians run down the sides of the body and the two sides reflect our ability to choose which way to turn. The liver energy gives us our ability to choose the direction we want to go and then to plan our action. Once the choice has been made, gallbladder energy gives us the capacity to carry it through. When the liver and gallbladder are in harmony, plans are made and followed through without much drama or fuss. But when the liver is unbalanced there may be lots of talk about plans without any action ever taken. Or we are so linear in our approach , there’s no room to be spontaneous or to think or plan ahead.

Pictures are from THE COMPLETE ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO REFLEXOLOGY ~ Inge Dougans

Liver Meridian Gallbladder meridian

THE ADRENAL GLANDS AND SYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM

The adrenal system and the thyroid gland are dominated by the sympathetic nervous system, which is part of the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system controls our basic bodily functions like heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, hormonal balance and metabolism. The sympathetic nervous system is associated with stimulating hormones such as adrenaline (epinephrine) and cortisol (norepinephrine).   When this nervous system becomes active, the heart rate elevates, the heart rate increases as well as our circulation, oxygen supply, metabolism and energy. The sympathetic nervous system goes into overdrive when we feel threatened or feel we are really in danger, such as being confronted by a mugger on a dark street.

Many people with adrenal fatigue try to keep their energy levels up by eating junk food and refined sugars to give them a jolt. Others try to boost their energy by exercising to give them a temporary energy surge which helps to release endorphins. But what goes up must come down and this energy roller coaster just makes adrenal imbalance worse. Cortisol and insulin levels are intertwined—when cortisol rises, so does insulin and leptin and a whole cascade of hormones we’re just beginning to understand. The excessive stimulation of the HPA axis and cortisol production can artificially keep insulin levels high, causing weight gain and insulin resistance. Once cells are conditioned to be insulin or leptin resistant, it takes a big shift to restore metabolic balance.

The increase in cortisol released from the adrenal glands causes food cravings, especially for high-fat, high-sugar, high-carbohydrate foods such as cookies, candy, chips, and ice cream. Even though these foods act as a temporary mood “boost,” they in turn feed a vicious cycle, causing additional blood sugar problems, leading to swings in energy and blood sugar, which fuels the stress-cortisol release cycle. Eventually by stimulating excess insulin release, the body is driven to become more insulin resistant, and with more insulin resistance, more fat is stored than the body needs.

The parasympathetic nervous system is part of the autonomic nervous system too and is associated with the body’s basic needs for, sleeping, relaxing, food absorption, sex and body repair. As we get older the parasympathetic nervous system weakens, leaving it harder for us to relax and get a good night’s sleep. One reason for this is the aggressive defense system of the hypothalamus located in the limbic brain. Known as the ‘seat of emotions’ the hypothalamus reads your emotional reactions to everything, real or imagined as an emotional war zone, especially when it believes your survival is being threatened. It communicates through thousands of nerve fibers to the master gland of the endocrine system, the pituitary. The pituitary reacts by telling the sympathetic nervous system to be on high alert. Your nerves on edge, you’re ready to respond to the fight/flight reflex.

When we wake up in the morning our sympathetic nervous system sends just enough cortisol to waken us and keep us awake. Most of us rush around like crazy to zoom out the door to get to work. If we could take a little time to be more loving to ourselves, e.g., showering longer, washing, shaving longer, lovingly combing our hair, meditating, walking in nature, etc. this stimulates a positive relaxing mood by activating the hormone’s dopamine and oxytocin in the brain. Release of oxytocin has a feedback effect…the more we take in and enjoy what’s around us, the more we’ll have enough ‘happy’ oxytocin in our blood for the whole day.   The more intense the emotional output of oxytocin in our blood, the longer and deeper it lasts, helping us to cope with the stresses of the day.

“Insomnia is the chronic inability to fall asleep or remain asleep for an adequate length of time (Dorland, 2003) There are three types of insomnia, conditioned insomnia, insomnia associated with clinical disorders, and circadian insomnia (Schenck, 2003). Conditioned insomnia is psychophysiological and arises from an episode of acute situational insomnia triggered by pain, illness, medication, stress, travel, or bereavement. The individual with conditioned insomnia associated the bed with not sleeping and becomes hyperaroused at night at a time when he/she would ordinarily feel relaxed and sleepy. Insomnia associated with clinical disorders is very common in psychiatric, particularly mood and anxiety disorders. Medical disorders and treatment most commonly associated with insomnia include asthma, chronic obstructive pulomary disease, congestive heart disease, gastroesophageal reflux, rheumatologic or other pain-related disorders, hyperthyroidism, renal disease, and neurodegenerative disorders (Schenck, 2003). Circadian rhythm sleep disorders result from a mismatch between the edogenous sleep and alertness rhythm and the desired (or required) time for sleep and wake (Schenck 2003).

THE PINEAL GLAND AND SLEEP

The pineal gland, within the brain is pea-sized, shaped like a pine cone and located in the center of the skull, between the ears and between the eyebrows. This endocrine gland secretes two important hormones, (melatonin and serotonin) through the body via the autonomic nervous system; it affects our metabolism, emotions, and moods of elation or depression. Serotonin and melatonin, govern our energy levels, mental activity, sleep patterns, hallucinations and dreams.

Some Autonomic Nervous System Disturbances

  • – breathing problems
  • – poor circulation
  • – palpitations
  • – bladder symptoms
  • – intestinal symptoms
  • – dizziness
  • – nausea
  • – vertigo (balance problems
  • – low blood pressure
  • – rapid heartbeat

The pineal gland is a biological clock and is highly sensitive to the phases of the Moon and even sunspot activity. The body operates on a 24 hour clock regulated by the sun controlling the release of and as darkness approaches the release of melatonin to make us feel drowsy, calm and sleepy. The release of melatonin is essential to keep our immune system strong; hence the healing process through sleep, whereas a lack of melatonin weakens the immune system and leads to deficiencies.

If we are deprived of light for a length of time, it can cause our biorhythms to change to a 25 hour cycle and coincide with the cycles of the moon instead of the sun. When a person is subjected to a permanently light environment their serotonin secretions will intensify to the point where they may become hyperactive, overly stressed and emotionally overwrought. The pineal gland naturally secretes serotonin when we’re eating and if we are tired or depressed, we can easily and readily consume 500 or more calories a day.   Hyperactivity and depression can also affect other endocrine glands and the whole immune system. Other releases of seratonin that can affect our sleep is the contraction of the intestinal muscles, over-excitement – butterflies in the stomach or the ‘gut’ reaction we often feel when scared or overwhelmed.

In periods of daylight the pineal gland’s release of serotonin and cortisol boosts our energy levels, intensifies emotions and induces a feeling of vitality. (We produce more cortisol in the summer than in winter months). During the autumn and winter periods we are more likely to feel ill, depressed or easily catch colds or the flu because of a lack of sunlight. People who live in darker countries far away from the equator are more prone to depressive illnesses and suicide. Between 6 and 10 percent of the North American population suffer season affective disorder (SAD)…..most SAD patients will respond to light treatment, however, a person subjected to extremely long periods of either lightness or darkness can become disoriented and manic.

“When Seasonal Affective Disorder (often called S.A.D.) occurs, the Soul needs adjustment since the Body is not storing enough light (energy). Food represents trapped sunlight and nourishes the Body as oxygen is delivered. Removing both emotional and physical toxins, strengthening cells with Essential Fatty Acids as well as getting the proper nutrients can resolve this issue. Light supports vision, and without vision it supports old habits plus closed off beliefs. Positive affirmations are a great way to dispel habits and beliefs.” Symptoms: the Language of the Soul: A Gift of Transformation ~ Susan Marion MacDonald

The brain is in charge of the endocrine glands and too much light or dark can affect our biological rhythms, our mood swings, stress levels, and reproductive cycles.

WHY IS SLEEP SO POWERFUL

There is no hard or fast rule concerning the amount of sleep one should have – provided that sleep, when it comes, is deep and undisturbed. You won’t be able to relax if you lie there watching the hands of the clock and worry there’s only a few hours left before it’s time to get up.

Getting quality sleep in a dark environment allows your body to release the hormone melatonin that once secreted, lowers body temperature by 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit. This cooling allows the body to release its greatest concentration of growth hormone known as HGH, which helps to strengthen our bodies and repairs damaged tissue. HGH is only secreted during deep sleep—deep sleep activates the parasympathetic system (our ability to rest and digest) which helps to rebalance our system. giving the parasympathetic system—our ability to ‘rest and digest’ a chance to increase until it peaks which governs our ability to ‘rest and digest’ a chance to assert itself. In this way sleep moderates the effects of stress and switches the body into self-healing mode.

Sleep also prepares the brain to release endorphins and neuropetides to all the nerves, blood vessels, the heart, the lungs, the gastrointestinal tract, and all the other organs. HGH also instructs the body to burn stored fat but if we don’t get enough of this hormone, the body produces high levels of cortisol which is linked to more weight around the belly as well as a decreased metabolism.

What happens when we go to sleep? After about fifteen to thirty minutes we reach a stage of semi-consciousness (hypnagogic) which occurs between sleep and waking. Most of us think we’re still awake because we can think and hear noises but we are actually in a state of early sleep. Some people in the semi-conscious state have described seeing images of light flashes, sparks, geometric forms, faces, and even whole scenes. The experiences are vivid enough to seem real but most people reporting to have them, know the images came to them internally.

After a few more minutes from the semi-conscious state, we shift to a deeper sleep, our brain waves get slower and slower until after about 90 minutes, dreaming becomes possible. Then our bodies jerk mildly and our eyelids flutter.

The transformation that sleep brings to the body are quite obvious. We breathe more slowly, our eyeballs turn up and out, our fingers grow cold and our toes warm. Blood pressure falls rapidly and is lowest about three hours after the onset of sleep. Believe it or not, we actually change positions from 20 to 60 times during the night without even knowing it and every 90 minutes or so we may return to a semi conscious state for a brief while. Then slowly (unless something like an alarm clock disturbs the process) our sleep becomes lighter, Consciousness, flickers, fails again, flickers….and then we are awake.

Awakening, we’ll stretch and most likely yawn to inhale extra oxygen to lower the carbon dioxide in the body—this is usually because in sleep   we haven’t used our muscles. We might still feel tired, especially if our adrenalin is low;

REM AND NREM SLEEP

There are two types of sleep: REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-dreaming sleep). Most dreams occur during REM sleep in the dreamtime stage, in which the cerebral cortex is active, muscle activity is inhibited, breathing and heartbeat are irregular and body temperature is less controlled.   During NREM sleep, the cerebral cortex is less active, muscles can move and fewer dreams are reported.

Our eyes move when we dream, as though we were looking around. As mentioned, our muscles move during REM sleep, make us almost paralyzed. If we move at all our movements look more like twitches rather than actual motions. Most of us have seen this behavior in our pets, whose dream states are very much like our own.

REM and NREM sleep alternate in cycles. Normally REM sleep occurs about every 90 minutes. Dream cycles are shorter during the night and longer toward dawn. You probably dream every night, but you don’t remember a dream unless you wake up from it. If you go right on sleeping, your dreams are forgotten. REM or dreaming sleep is the deepest stage and is important for the consolidation of memory and learning, as well as for sorting and storing information in the brain. It is generally thought that we need about 25 percent of our sleep to be in REM and the remainder in NREM. The lighter NREM sleep is important because it is only after a certain amount of nondreaming that we pass into REM sleep.   Without NREM sleep dreaming can’t occur.

“Since light, NREM Sleep is so important and since we can often think we are awake when in fact semiconscious, it is important not to force ourselves into full wakefulness during these periods of nondreaming sleep. Many people get out of bed, go to the bathroom, eat a snack, or watch TV–thinking they can’t sleep–when they were actually in a light sleep. But getting up usually brings them to a state of of real wakefulness. If instead they would just lie still and relax, realizing they were experiencing an important part of the sleep cycle, they would soon go back into a deep sleep again…

…If, out of frustration, we force ourselves to true wakefulness during these times, sleep will almost certainly be gone for the rest of the night. Our adrenalin arousal will see to that!” The Hidden Link Between Adrenalin and Stress ~ Dr. Archibald D. Hart

“BODY SCANNING

Close your eyes. Starting with your toes and moving up your body, ask yourself “Where am I tense?” Whenever you discover a tense area, exaggerate it slightly so you can become even more aware of it. Be aware of the muscles in your body that are tense. Then, for example, say to yourself “I am tensing my neck muscles .. I am hurting myself.. I am creating tension in my body.” Note that all muscular tension is self-produced. At this pint, be aware of any life situation that may be causing the tension in your body and think what you could do to change that.” The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook ~ Martha David, Ph.D., Elisabeth Robbins Eshelman, MSW, Matthew McKay, Ph.D

PART II ~ INSOMNIA ~ RULES FOR BETTER SLEEP

Many of us don’t need 8 hours sleep and yet some of us need more.  When we’re wanting to develop good sleep habits, the first thing you need to know is just how much you sleep you really need.  After 6 or 7 hours of sleep can you function through the day?  Are your energy levels still good in the afternoon or are you gravitating towards a coffee or sugar to keep yourself awake. Try to notice how much sleep makes you feel alive and with the ability to function at your best.

To help improve your sleep, try to go to bed and get up at the same every day.  Building a regular sleep routine will become automatic and a good habit to instil your own body’s inner clock.

Turning down the lights earlier in the evening, helps the brain to produce a very important hormone for sleep, called melatonin. Dimming of the lights messages the body that darkness is approaching and makes us sleepy, preparing us for sleep; this also helps to lower adrenaline levels. As mentioned earlier, The release of melatonin is essential to keep our immune system healthy, hence the healing process through sleep, whereas a lack of melatonin weakens the immune system and leads to deficiencies.

Create a comfortable, quiet, uncluttered dark room for sleeping.  Anything in your energy field affects the quality of your sleep, so resist the temptation to stash junk under your bed. Also stale energy hands around dirty laundry, so never keep a laundry basket in the bedroom and be sure to change the bedsheets at least once a week to keep your energy vital and fresh.

If you have a computer in your bedroom there are downloadable programs that tunes out the screen of your computer/tablet at night so their light aren’t in the range that tells the brain it’s wake up time.

Eating a bit of protein as a snack may help you sleep through the night. Bananas may be your choice as they are starchy and rich in melatonin.

“One of food’s best sleeping pills is something sweet or starchy…if falling asleep or staying asleep is a problem, try eating an ounce of so of sweet (pure honey) or starchy stuff (bananas, oatmeal) a half an hour before going to bed. ~Jean Carper ~ Food Your Miracle Medicine

Avoid drinking alcohol, caffeine, or eating spicy or greasy foods before going to sleep.  All these make us more tense and adrenally aroused, interfering with our normal sleep patterns.

Do not force yourself to sleep.  Falling asleep is a natural process and forcing sleep only frustrates you further and causes more adrenalin to be pumped into your body.

You should have a quiet place for sleep.  If you live in a noisy environment, like in the down-town core, you may want to invest in a set of earplugs.  They’re easy to use and effectively shut out the noise. You’ll also sleep deeper and more peaceful if your brain doesn’t have to block out background noises.

Exercise regularly, just not before going to bed.  Exercise helps to release a surplus of adrenaline, release muscular tension, ventilate the lungs and helps to slow down the body that helps us to sleep.

Create a relaxing bedtime routine. Make your bedroom sleep friendly. Keep the noise down. Keep your room cool. Make sure your bed is comfortable. Create relaxing bedtime rituals like reading a book, taking a warm bath, listening to soft music or make simple preparations for the next day.

Use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or visualizing a peaceful restful place.  Practice mind-control relaxation by listening to a soothing CD playing in the background to help you relax.

Find ways to get back to sleep. Stay out of your head. Focus on the feelings and sensations in your body. Make relaxation your goal, not sleep. Do quiet, non-stimulating activities such as reading a book, but keep the lights dim. Don’t let your mind worry or start brainstorming about tomorrow.  If something pops in your mind, keep a small note-pad by your bed and make a brief note of it to get it off your mind.

SUPPLEMENTS

5-HTP (Tryptophan) is an essential amino acid able to ‘manufacture serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps to lift depression and is very useful for people who have a difficult time staying asleep through the night.  Bananas are a good source L-tryptophan and simple carbohydrates. L-tryptophan is an amino acid, and it gets converted to 5HTP in the brain, which again gets converted to serotonin (a calming neurotransmitter) which again gets converted to melatonin (which is the natural controller of hormonal rythms in the body, especially sleep). A night-time dose to help you sleep through the night is between 50 to 200 mg. 5-HTP has been found to be safe up to 300 mg.

Tryptophan converts to niacin before finally becoming serotonin.  If your body is deficient in niacin, it can cause nervous disorders, such as: depression, mental dullness, confusion, forgetfulness, disorientation, hallucination, insomnia, and nausea.

Taurine is another calming amino acid that helps to suppress the release of excitatory neurotransmitters like norepinephrine. Taurine acts like a light tranquillizer throughout the whole body.  It is found in large amounts in the central nervous system and the heart.  Taurine is vital to the proper utilization of sodium, magnesium, potassium, and calcium, and has a protective effect upon the brain.

When we are under an enormous amount of stress it also weakens our mental processes.  When we are under stress, cortisol levels rise and testosterone levels decrease in both men and women. DHEA, a hormone critical for brain and immune function is also suppressed under great stress.  You can have your DHEA levels tested and if low, you can supplement with DHEA, as well as 5HTP and this should improve your sleep quality and protect the brain from excess cortisol, mental clarity and energy returned.

insomnia can be caused by a lack of thiamine which works with the nervous system.  When there is a lack of thiamine, it can indicate mental attitudes and inflexible attitudes as well has worrying, nervousness, tension and the inability to relax.  A thiamine deficiency may also lower the amount of hydrochloric acid in the stomach—when this happens food is only semi-digested so that when bile is poured into the duodenum it cannot properly break down the fats.

Chamomile – a member of the daisy family, tea made from this herb has a mild sedative affect.

Kava Kava – relieves anxiety and stress ~ should not be taken long-term as it may cause allergic reactions, visual disturbance and liver toxicity.

St. John’s Wort – treats mild to moderate depression. Side effects include weight gain and sensitivity to light.  This herb increases serotonin levels in the brain and should not be taken with SSRIs (Selective Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitors such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, etc.)

Valerian – an effective stress reducer and sedative

Hops – this herb is a distant relative to marijuana and is a good remedy for anxiety and insomnia.  Some companies combine hops with valerian root as the two herbs synergistically work together.

Passion Flower – is known to reduce anxiety, insomnia and high blood pressure.

Links

http://www.hydroholistic.com/blog/cleansing/10-reasons-to-do-a-liver-gallbladder-flush/

http://www.drjustingallantnd.com/2/post/2014/02/why-do-i-wake-up-between-1am-and-3am.html

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/lack-of-sleep/faq-20057757?linkId=12970216

http://www.rejuvinstitute.com/why-do-i-always-wake-up-at-3am#.VTOFOSFVikp

http://www.vitalitymagazine.com/article/kicking-the-sugar-habit/

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/carbohydrates_and_the_glycaemic_index?open

Spring cleaning (Liver and Gallbladder)  http://www.treatrootcause.com/spring-clean-your-acupuncture-meridians/

Nourishing the liver  http://nourishedmagazine.com.au/blog/articles/nourishing-the-liver

Herbs and natural remedies for insomnia http://www.christopherhobbs.com/library/articles-on-herbs-and-health/herbs-and-natural-remedies-for-insomnia/

Treat insomnia with Herbs http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/08/23/is-this-one-of-natures-simple-answer-to-sleepless-nights.aspx

Natural Cures by Dr. Weil http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02037/sleep-aid

14 Naturally Remedies for Insomnia http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/conditionsitoq/a/Insomnia.htm

To be continued….

ravenstarshealingroom@gmail.com

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“Compared to bipolar’s magic, reality seems a raw deal. It’s not just the boredom that makes recovery so difficult, it’s the slow dawning pain that comes with sanity – the realization of illness, the humiliating scenes, the blown money and friendships and confidence. Depression seems almost inevitable. The pendulum swings back from transcendence in shards, a bloody, dangerous mess. Crazy high is better than crazy low. So we gamble, dump the pills, and stick it to the control freaks and doctors. They don’t understand, we say. They just don’t get it. They’ll never be artists.” ~ David Lovelace

Creativity does seem to feed off emotional turmoil and often in the works of great poets we can feel the soul’s pain and turmoil. In fact, heightened imaginative powers, depression, insomnia, fatigue, rapid thoughts, inflated self-esteem, panic attacks, rage and intense emotions all swim about in an ocean of ever changing moods of heightened creativity and suicidal tendencies.  It is within this ocean that brilliance is born and fed by the storms raging in many artists’ minds.

“I was diagnosed bipolar 6 years ago. I recently decided to come off my meds. I’ll admit it took me a while to cope with certain situations and learn to focus and concentrate on just taking one day at a time. I’ve learned to cope through eating healthy, exercising and trying to get at least 8 hrs sleep a night. It’s no walk in the park, I’ll tell ya. I have to be very strict with myself and stick to my routines. If I’m feeling low and unmotivated I make myself exercise, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. I’ve learned this removes a buildup of toxins and gets my happy chemicals moving. I take 6000 units of vitamin D daily and a 100 mgs of a B multi-vitamin twice a day. The doctor gives me injections of vitamin B12 once a month to keep my energies up. It’s very common for individuals with mood disorders to have low vitamin B levels. I also keep close contact with my doctor. I don’t think there is a cure for Bi Polar. I do however think it can be managed. For me it always comes back to quality of life or quantity of life. Everyone is different. Medication helped me when I was very unwell. I’ve learned what works for me.” (Matthew B.)

I do believe we need to find a better way of treating manic depression, rather than through high dosages of lithium and antipsychotic drugs. Even uses of antidepressant drugs (SSRIs) and/or stimulants can be linked to the onset of some manic symptoms.  As well, many people on medication for bipolar disorder have complained this kind of treatment has stifled their creative abilities.  Some famous authors suffering from manic depression have said that their suffering is a part of who they are and that without it they couldn’t create. Many turned to drugs and alcohol to counter the effects of their medication or to get relief from their symptoms. In fact people suffering from bipolar disorder are 10 times more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol than most other people because they turned to these substances to help counter the effects of their medication or to get other relief from their symptoms.

We are all born with genetically programmed instincts, which are located in the primitive brain (limbic system).  The limbic system focuses inward on our survival, our emotions and our nurturing needs. When you feel depressed or anxious, these feelings originate from the limbic system but involve the cortex as well, since depression diminishes our insights and judgments as well as our lack of motivation and attention.

What we think, how we feel, what we assimilate into our beings at every stage of life and at every level has a cumulative affect that directly impacts our states of being, influencing our physical hormones, genetic make-up, neural processing etc. And the condition of our states of physical being also affects our states of mind.

Environmental factors also play a significant role. For example, many people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) later develop bipolar disorder. Repetitive traumas suffered throw the body into a constant state of stress and research shows that stress can induce the hippocampus to remodel itself and shrink. Hormones are also involved. Additional considerations involve head and/or neck injuries.

“World champion boxer Frank Bruno was sectioned for 28 days in a psychiatric hospital and diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2003 following his marriage break-up. He describes his behavior in the run up to his breakdown: ‘I got confused and snappy and impatient. I couldn’t, couldn’t, couldn’t function. Losing my wife, seeing my kids less regularly, not eating properly, staying up late, living by myself, getting uptight, wound up, over stupid little things [ … ] It’s like a kettle. I wish I could put a hole in my head and let the steam out.’ “Bipolar Disorder: The Ultimate Guide ~ by Sarah Owen, Amanda Saunders

Although the brain, especially the limbic system is quite complex let’s look at specific areas that are related to our most primitive and potent emotional signals.  It has been proven that the limbic system (emotional reactions and emotional memories) can actually hijack other parts of the brain, especially when so overcome with anger, fear or passion, excitement.  You see the limbic brain jumps in when it proclaims an emergency, even before the neocortex, the thinking brain, has had a chance to reason out what is happening.

“Lithium tweaks many mood-altering chemicals in the brain, and its effects are complicated. Most interesting, lithium seems to reset the body’s circadian rhythm, its inner clock. In normal people, ambient conditions, especially the sun, dictate their humors and determine when they are tuckered out for the day. They’re on a twenty-four-hour cycle. Bipolar people run on cycles independent of the sun. And run and run.” ~ Sam Kean, ~ The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements

The brain responds to chemical changes, by adjusting the feelings and thoughts within the physical body. Psychologists have shown us that we can react a whole variety of ways to one single hormone—this mostly depends upon our expectations.  The parts of the brain that are involved in thought, memory and sensations are connected by direct neural pathways with emotional centers—and  with the pituitary gland that controls hormone output.  The pituitary actually suspends from the hypothalamus, which controls emotion, appetite and desire.

There does seem to be a stress loop that connects the adrenal glands, brain, hypothalamus, and pituitary together, which then flows back to the adrenals again, pushing them way out of kilter.  This stress loop also affects the other endocrine glands creating a continual cycle of stress in the body, causing bizarre mood swings, muscle tension, stiffness, eating disorders, depression, heart palpitations, excessive sweating and migraines. Too much cortisol in the blood damages our memories, our learning capabilities and our creativity.  This stress cycle will, if not corrected, eventually affect the immune system.

“If you are suddenly anxious, under threat, or furious about something, your brain via your pituitary gland tells your adrenal glands to pump up production of epinephrine, cortisol and other hormones to put your body into high alert. Once the threat goes away and you “cool off,” the adrenal glands stop their escalation of hormones. However, if your mind ruminates about the anxiety and threatening events, with such thought patterns as “It’s hopeless”; “My life is a disaster”; “things should be different!”, and “This is unfair!” your adrenal glands continue to overproduce cortisol and estrogen. This leads to your pancreas secreting more insulin, and you get symptoms of what is commonly known as “adrenal gland exhaustion.” All is Well ~ Louise L. Hay and Mona Lisa Schulz

Continual high adrenaline (epinephrine) levels cause the repetitive release of insulin increasing carbohydrates to convert to fat in the liver.  Weight gain and obesity add to ill effects to the endocrine system, muscle joints, and digestion, with loss energy and self esteem.  In bipolar people, this is all that is necessary to produce insulin insensitivity and, ultimately diabetes.  These are genuine threats to their health.

“A balance of thyroid hormone in the brain is crucial for maintaining mood stability. If you suffer from a deficit or an excess of thyroid hormone resulting from a dysfunctioning gland, you may even experience clear-cut mood swing disorder. Severe hypothyroidism has even been blamed for causing manic-depression, with poor judgment and hallucinations. Doctors always wonder, however, whether such patients might not have preexisting minor forms of manic-depression, which have become more severe as a result of the thyroid imbalance.

 Hyperthyroidism can also cause mood swings in a person who does not have a preexisting mood disorder. In some people, an overactive thyroid can result in an elated mood called “hypomania” or “mania” depending on whether the elation is moderate (hypomania involves no major behavioral disturbances) or severe (mania is associated with irrational behavior). In some patients, the thyroid condition may not be diagnosed until several years after the onset of the mood swing disorder that it caused  ~ The Thyroid Solution: A Revolutionary Mind-Body Program for Regaining Your Emotional and Physical Health ~ Ridha Arem

LITHIUM AND THE BRAIN

 “Lithium tweaks many mood-altering chemicals in the brain, and its effects are complicated. Most interesting, lithium seems to reset the body’s circadian rhythm, its inner clock. In normal people, ambient conditions, especially the sun, dictate their humors and determine when they are tuckered out for the day. They’re on a twenty-four-hour cycle. Bipolar people run on cycles independent of the sun. And run and run.” ~ Sam Kean, The Disappearing Spoon

The brain is what helps you to make sense of the world, taking in information from your environment and sending messages throughout your body. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch are not only an essential part of our memories, they help to understand the changes happening around us.  But any change in the brain, even the subtlest change, can have a major impact on our feelings, thoughts and action.

Suppose you were given a chemical that blocked the absorption of the vitamin niacin in your central nervous system. The result would be “instant mental illness,” most likely violence, during which you might smash all the furniture, throw it out the window, then run out into the street and attack a total stranger passing by who had stopped to watch the ruckus.

“For some people, use of antidepressant drugs and/or stimulants can be linked to the onset of some manic symptoms. Research has shown that B complex deficiencies commonly occur in 80 percent of bipolar people. Also, many bipolars are anemic, with low levels of B12 and folic acid, and shown a lower uptake of inositol when compared to a control group. So orthomolecular physicians have now paired the use of lithium with the intake of daily B complex vitamins, which work synergistically with lithium. In this way, high lithium doses can be substantially reduced, thus eliminating many devastating side effects.”  ~ Depression-Free Naturally: 7 Weeks to Eliminating Anxiety, Despair, Fatigue And Anger From Your Life ~ Joan Matthews Larson, Ph.D.

Our blood circulates the love of life from the heart throughout our whole body.  When we are anemic, we are deficient in red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the tissues and removes carbon dioxide.  One of the causes of anemia in manic depressives, is excessive blood cell destruction which can be metaphysically explained as ‘losing one’s will to live. When we feel discouraged, hopeless or helpless we lose touch with our needs and desires—we feel as if we’re withering away.

“The messages we unconsciously give our bodies are thus a determining factor in our state of wellness. Messages based on failure, despair and anxiety are ones that present a negative, dying feeling and will cause the body to react by breaking down the defence mechanisms (that is, the immune system) and preparing for death. Even if our worries and fears are imaginary, the message will still translate into physical illness as our bodies feel endangered and threatened”. ~ Debbie Shapiro ~ The BodyMind Workbook 

Research at the National Institute of Mental Health suggests that bipolar people are hypersensitive to acetylcholine, a chemical that carries memory messages in the brain. They found that cholinergic receptors (the chemical hitching posts on cells that receive acetylcholine) are far more numerous in the brains of manic depressives.

(Acetycholine controls the brain’s speed, creativity, self-esteem, criticism, short-term memory, language, sensory impressions and interpretations, speech, reading and thought. It also controls all muscle contractions.)

One substance that blocks acetycholine is lithium, which we all have in low levels. It is one of the best drugs, at the moment, for treating bipolar depression.  But is it the best treatment?

Psychiatric News outlined the widespread difficulties that lithium causes in an article called “Lithium and Memory Loss.” Besides causing memory loss, the high does of lithium needed to stop manic moods are often toxic to the nervous system, causing tremors in many users. And at high levels lithium suppresses thyroid function and can cause hypothyroidism and mental confusion.

“Scientists have gained insight into why lithium salts are effective at treating bipolar disorder in what could lead to more targeted therapies with fewer side-effects.” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120313103922.htm

“I have often asked myself whether, given the choice, I would choose to have manic-depressive illness. If lithium were not available to me, or didn’t work for me, the answer would be a simple no… and it would be an answer laced with terror.

 But lithium does work for me, and therefore I can afford to pose the question. Strangely enough, I think I would choose to have it. It’s complicated…” ~  Kay Redfield Jamison

“Lithium, don’t want to lock me up inside.

Lithium, don’t want to forget how it feels without…

Lithium, I want to stay in love with my sorrow.

Oh, but God, I want to let it go.” ~ – Lyrics from “Lithium” by band EVANESCENCE

NEUROTRANSMITTERS

A neurotransmitter is a brain chemical specifically for communication that happens between brain cells.  It’s incredible that these neurotransmitters can zigzag and flash through the mass of brain neurons at speeds of up to 150 mph carrying your every thought and feelings.  Of the 100 identified, the one’s best known are: acetylcholine, dopamine, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) and serotonin.

Everyday our neuropeptides try to work hard to keep us functioning at a peak performance but chemicals, food colorings, sugar, trans-fats, food preservatives, traffic fumes, second hand smoke, stress, anxiety and lack of sleep slows them down.  One of the best ways to boost your dopamine is exercise, swimming, biking walking and running. Playing board games and computer games help to replenish dopamine too. Walking in nature enhances GABA, and creative writing (poems, songs) help to restore acetylcholine.  Violent movies and loud ‘hard’ music or angry words decrease the production of acetylcholine.

“[An] exciting safe substance that has a lithium-like effect on the brain is the amino acid taurine, which is a calming inhibitory neruotransmitter that naturally blocks the effect of excitatory transmitters like acetycholine. Manic depressives have very low taurine levels when measured in the lab. A taurine deficiency cuases far greater symptoms in women than mean (hypothyroid, lethargy, and depression), and bipolar disorder is twice as common in women. Science also documents hereditary depression in taurine-deficient persons. Taurine has been successfully substituted for lithium (500 mg. three times daily) and, unlike lithium has no side effects.” Depression-Free Naturally: 7 Weeks to Eliminating Anxiety, Despair, Fatigue And Anger From Your Life ~ Joan Matthews Larson, Ph.D.

And from another source…..

“Taurine is an amino acid made in the liver from cysteine that is known to play a role in the brain by eliciting a calming effect. A deficiency of this amino acid may increase a bipolar patient’s manic episodes. In addition, eighty percent of bipolar sufferers have some vitamin B deficiencies (often accompanied by anemia [46]. The combination of essential vitamin supplements with the body’s natural supply of lithium reduces depressive and manic symptoms of patients suffering from bipolar disorder [47]. ~ Functional Foods: The Connection Between Nutrition, Health and Food Science ~ edited by Leah Coles

THE LIMBIC BRAIN

LIMBIC SYSTEM

The main transportation of the nervous system is the brain.  It is the best organized 3 lbs of matter in the known universe.  Tens of billions of tiny nerve cells transmit electrical signals from the nerves to the brain.  And each nerve cell in the brain is connected to many other cells in the brain and is affected by them.  The whole brain hums actively firing in circuits or loops, round and round like a pinwheel, throwing off sparks of energy on each cycle.  Great masses of nerve cells unite together to create a marvelous orchestra which plays thoughts of truth and beauty, which creates creative imagination.

“How do billions of nerve cells within the brain communicate with each other? One way is through the amazing molecules called chemical messengers or neurotransmitters. These substances are made within each nerve cell and are secreted through the synapse, the space between one cell and the next. The “mood pathways” in the brain that we have been referring to consist of the chemical messenger systems that travel through and innervate the prefrontal-limbic complex”. Women’s Moods ~ Deborah Sichel, M.D., and Jeanne Watson Driscoll, M.s., R.N., C.S.

Carl Sagan on the Brain http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SHc67Hep48

When symptoms of depression and anxiety occur, they originate from the limbic brain, but they involve the cortex as well, since severe depression is associated with diminished eyesight, poor judgment, lack of motivation and attention—all functions of the higher levels of brain. As the brain evolved over time, the cortex grew larger and we developed the capacity to control our emotions, hold back our anger and modify the impulses coming from the more primitive part of the brain called the limbic.

The cortex is divided into two halves or hemispheres and each holds a different function—though separate, these two halves are joined by a boomerang-shaped band of fibers’ or bridge call the corpus callosum which allows the left-brain and right-brain to talk to each other.

The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and enables us to figure out problems logically, to speak and write, to understand science and numbers.  The right side of the brain controls your left side of the body and is your creative side—this is where your vivid imagination and artistic ability comes from and your love for music.

“Rich connections also exist between the amygdala in the temporal lob of the brain and the stomach. These connections allow our intense emotions—fear, anxiety, anger and rage, threat, intimidation—to be felt in the stomach and abdomen.  Since the amygdala plays an important role in memory, it can also moderate the degree to which adverse or traumatic experiences can produce changes in the GI system.  In animals the amygdala controls whether the animals feel resilient (powerful) or vulnerable in stress situations.  The more helpless the feeling in the face of threat, restraint, and aggression, the greater the individual’s likelihood of developing ulcers”.   AWAKENING INTUITION Mona Lisa Schulz

We are all born with genetically programmed instincts which are located in what’s called the primitive brain or amygdala which in the fight/flight response showers the body and brain with chemicals, quickly turning the stress button ON.  When we sense danger, the autonomic (instinctual) nervous system signals the body to release the hormone adrenaline into the blood stream, providing instant energy to the hearts, lungs, and muscles.  We are pumped up and ready to fight or run.

“A fundamental assumption in this work is that the brain has multiple memory systems, each devoted to different kinds of memory functions. For traumatic memory, two systems are particularly important. For example, if you return to the scene of an accident, you will be reminded of the accident and will remember where you were going, who you were with, and other details about the experience. These are explicit (conscious) memories mediated by the hippocampus and other aspects of the temporal lobe memory system. In addition, your blood pressure and heart rate may rise, you may begin to sweat, and your muscles may tighten up. These are implicit (unconscious) memories mediated by the amygdala and its neural connections”. Joseph LeDoux

HYPOTHALAMUS AND PITUITARY

The hypothalamus controls the autonomic nervous system, regulating temperature, water metabolism, reproduction, hunger and thirst, and our state of alertness. It’s responsible for turning the stress switch on in the body—stimulating the fight or flight reaction, raising the blood pressure, the heart rate, and breathing rate—it also has centers for emotions: anger, fear, pain, and pleasure.

Connected to the hypothalamus, and continually influencing it are the ‘higher’ centers of the brain which give us our senses, memory, creativity and thought.  So theoretically, our hormone cycles could be controlled by the power of pure thought.

The pituitary gland hangs like a little round bag from the hypothalamus and controls the total balance of hormones in the body. We have come to call it the Master Gland of the body, also known as the ‘seat of the mind’. Its frontal lobe regulates emotional thoughts such as poetry, art and music, and the anterior lobe regulating concrete thought and the analytical mind.  You could say it is our mission control center that continually sends messages to all the other glands in our body and regulates our sexual development.

Hormones, like the rest of our bodies are created from the food we eat. In order to create all the hormones we need in sufficient quantities, we have to get enough of the nutrients they’re composed of and to make enzymes and other substances that affect the production, metabolism and functioning of our hormones.

When we are reacting to either food, or a situation, or a person, or to the weather, we are actually responding to a signal that started from the hypothalamus to the pituitary gland.  The signal may be in the form of comfort or discomfort, but if we could learn how to listen to these signals that are being sent to us, all the time from within us, then, we’d realize that these signals affect our moods, our behavior, our perceptions, our tastes, our habits, our attraction to other people, our appetites, our urges and so on.  Knowing your body/mind, allows you to ‘tune’ into yourself and of course to others. This allows the pituitary to analyze situations before taking action.

When we’re under stress the brain immediately responds by triggering the release of specific hormones from the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and adrenal gland areas (HPA axis).  Acute and chronic stress triggers the fight/flight response causing our heart and breathing to increase, and the blood vessels to constrict—adrenaline starts to flow through the body, digestion shuts down as blood is shunted away from the digestive tract and sent to the muscles. Most people after a particularly frightful or angry encounter,feel exhausted. They suddenly feel the need to sleep or pull away from the problem.

During traumatic stress, stress neuropeptides norepinephrine and cortisol disconnect the left-brain “talk” memory systems, but simultaneously turn up the process. The neurotransmitter norepinephrine turns on the domino effect of depression to disease in the body, and acetylcholine turns off the inflammatory cascade.

Elevated levels of adrenaline can also cause an elevation in triglycerides, which are fats in the blood, and elevation of blood sugar…also not good. Elevated levels of adrenaline over time can also cause blood to clot faster (which contributes to plaquing), the thyroid too becomes overly stimulated, and the body produces more cholesterol.

“In the last decade, neurobiologists have reported structural differences in at least two regions of the human brain.  One is the corpus callosum, the mind’s big “telephone” cable, connecting as it does hundreds of millions of neurons between the two hemispheres.  The other is the hypothalamus, the master controller for the integration of many basic behavioral patterns from temperature regulation and appetite to sex drives—involving brain and endocrine functions, Neuroendocrine research also strongly indicates that nervous system differences begin as sex hormones bathe the developing fetus in the womb.  Hormonal differences continuing through childhood—and perhaps even through adult life—affect brain activity and guide performance.  Other studies suggest that men and women may process the same information differently and yet come to the same of similar conclusion.”  Kathryn Phillips

Cortisol stays in the body longer than adrenaline, interferes with digestion and suppresses the immune system allowing tumors if present, to grow faster. Cortisol can create a fearful, threatened feeling that overstimulates our whole system. Unexplained muscle aches, chronic headaches, feeling hopeless or helpless and crying more than usual are signs of chronic overarousal. Anxiety coupled with cortisol has been known to cause unexplained heart palpitations, a nervous stomach, road rage and short temperedness.)

The pituitary happens to sit quite comfortably just above the sphenoid bone, which looks very much like a throne made of wings. Side by side these wings have long been referred to as the ‘Swan’, (although to me they look more like the wings of a bat) and in Grail lore the Swan is symbolic of the fully enlightened being. This is the ultimate realm of consciousness achieved by the medieval Knights of the Swan, such as Perceval and Lohengrin. One of the functions of the sphenoid is to solidify and stabilize our digested memories and patterns with the imagination so that we are able to do what we call visualizing, or inner seeing.

For further information on the pituitary and endocrine glands go here

THE PINEAL GLAND

Resembling a pine cone, the pineal gland, located just above the pituitary gland, secretes the hormone melatonin, a light sensitive hormone known to affect sleep, mood and the reproductive cycle.  Usually levels of this hormone rise at night and subside at dawn. In Part I of this series we learnt that melatonin is associated with Season Affective Disorder (SAD) especially in the darker seasons like Autumn and Winter.

The pineal gland acts in two ways to inhibit the action of the pituitary gland. First, the pituitary gland is responsible for activating adolescence and the beginning of sexuality, and the pineal gland checks the pituitary gland to prevent premature sexual awakening. Second, human thought is regarded as a result of suspended action, and the pineal gland holds back your thoughts from charging recklessly into action. It says whoa slow down and think about the chain of reactions and repercussions caused by the thoughts you want to put into action.   It forces you to submerge (like a submarine whose captain yells dive, dive) deep into your own  subconscious waters, using the perascope to see into your thoughts regarding the surface of your outer reality.  When the external world disappears, we fall back into ourselves, kind of like a falling star or a deep sea diver.  Our whole energy pattern contracts because we’re tuned into our own station.  When we plug into our own broadcast, it magnetizes  “spiritual light” like a beacon stimulating the pineal gland to stand straight up attracting and releasing a tremendous amount of powerful energy!  In order for your desire, good or ill to manifest, the pineal gland must join together with the pituitary to create an eclipse, a conjunction, a merging of these two glands creates an opening  what mystics have called the third eye (a higher form of intelligence)

THE SEAT OF ALL PASSION – THE AMYGDALA

The amygdala’s main role is emotion, including what we call intuition. It plays a major role in dreaming, and religious and spiritual experience, Including telepathy and ESP.

“Our world is only one in a cluster of consecutive worlds, arranged like the layers of an onion. Even though we have been energetically conditioned to perceive solely our world, we still have the capability of entering into those other realms, which are as real, unique, absolute, and engulfing as our own world is.” Carlos Castenadas ~ The Art of Dreaming

In the human brain, the amygdala normally filters out most of reality, yet, when its hyperactivated, you will suddenly be able to experience what is normally filtered out—you will suddenly be able to see and taste sound, you can feel colors, and you can experience realms of reality that are normally suppressed.

When bipolar individuals are manic, passion and enthusiasm for life is not without its dangers.  When the amygdala is in a hyperactive state, manics can be carried along in a reckless pace. When passion veers out of control they experience a highly unrelaxing force that when it overwhelms them, their sense of true passion is lost.

“Then, as time rolls on, my head really speeds up; ideas are moving so fast they’re stumbling over each other and I begin to get this sense of power–power over other people. I begin to feel that what I think and do is of significance to those around me, even to the universe at large. I think of myself as having special insight, as understanding things that others do not, and with a special capacity to lead. I recognize now that these are warning signs.”  ~ Stephan Szabo

The amygdala, an almond-shaped structure in the limbic brain is also the brain’s alerting system to stressful and emotional situations. When triggered by stress or anxiety, it alerts several bodily systems—the gut, skin, heart, muscles, eyes, face, ears, and adrenals to be on the lookout for incoming stimuli.  The amygdala notes threats in the environment and decides whether you should freeze, run or fight for your life.  Imprinted onto the amygdala’s memory are massive fears and traumatic incidents that affected you since your birth (even registering unbearable pain in others).  Many of your fears were instigated by your parents in the very early part of your life ‘before’ you developed your ability to think things through.

The amygdala controls the production of neurotransmitters, *serotonin and norepinephrine—low serotonin levels cause us to be impulsive, aggressive, anxious, restless, and depressed—exhibit compulsive habits including overeating and drug and alcohol abuse.

The more active the amygdala becomes, the more you’ll struggle to keep your emotions steady. You may get mad at people for no reason and replay memories and conversations in your head that happened years ago. It’s like every waking moment of your day is spent muttering about something you have no control over.  The amygdala is like a runaway horse, going where it wants, with you barely hanging on—the more you hold on—the more energized the amygdala becomes.  And the stronger the amygdala—the tighter your muscular system becomes and the more tense the mind.

The Amygdala and Hypersexuality

“When that pure, euphoric filling hits I become hypersexual—sex is a no-no word even to the doctors, but we have to talk about it!!!  When I’m manic, I can literally have sex with anything that moves—and the truth is I really couldn’t care less about the other person—it’s a conquest, a game, that’s thrilling and fun—a game that can last for hours or days!!  My biggest problem with this is—I’m married!!” (Bipolar woman) 

“I take antidepressants which is like a chemical neutering because it takes away all my sexual desires. (Peter T.)

“When hypersexual I keep myself locked up so i don’t do anything stupid or crazy—it’s like i become very promiscuous and then I feel shameful, dirty and filled with regret”(Susan W.)

“Though hypersexuality may present itself as just one aspect in a constellation of problems, it is often the most destructive and challenging part of bipolar disorder—troubling families of young children suffering from juvenile hypersexuality, ruining marriages, generating life-threatening health problems. “The one thing I regret is what I did to my husband,” says Bev, a middle-aged woman from rural Quebec who was diagnosed with bipolar a few years ago. “He was a good man and we would have had a good retirement together.”http://www.bphope.com/Item.aspx/522/opening-the-door-on-hypersexuality

THE HIPPOCAMPUS

“The stress response can also literally poison the brain—because it causes excessive secretion of the adrenal hormone cortisol.  Cortisol is released at about the same time adrenaline is.  However it stays in your system much longer than adrenaline does, and that creates a terrible problem.  Cortisol gives your hippocampus, as well as other parts of your brain, a highly destructive ‘toxic bath’.  It can be so destructive that your brain may never again recover absolutely all of its cognitive function.” Brain Longevity by Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. with Cameron Stauth

 The amygdala adjoins the hippocampus, known as the ‘library of short-term memories’ which converts short term experiences into long term memories and then stores them in other parts of the brain.  (Your hippocampus is active right now as your reading this.)

The brain receives up to ten billion pieces of information per second.  Negative emotional shocks such as fear, tension, stress, frustration, anger and guilt are stored in the brain and sorted in order by a nervous structure called the reticulate ‘substance’ or ‘formation’. Metaphysical causes of the body happen when emotional residue pours into your organs causing pain and discomfort.

 “A fundamental assumption in this work is that the brain has multiple memory systems, each devoted to different kinds of memory functions. For traumatic memory, two systems are particularly important. For example, if you return to the scene of an accident, you will be reminded of the accident and will remember where you were going, who you were with, and other details about the experience. These are explicit (conscious) memories mediated by the hippocampus and other aspects of the temporal lobe memory system. In addition, your blood pressure and heart rate may rise, you may begin to sweat, and your muscles may tighten up. These are implicit (unconscious) memories mediated by the amygdala and its neural connections”. Joseph LeDoux

Repetitive traumas will throw the body into a constant state of anxiety and stress causing the hippocampus to remodel itself and shrink. There are studies out there saying that antidepressants help the hippocampus grow new cells in people with Bipolar, PTSD and other emotional traumas.

THALAMUS

The thalamus is the key relay station or distribution center, transporting incoming information from all parts of the nervous system.  It’s important for processing all sensory data (taste, pain and memory) except smell. “Thalamus” means “couch” in Greek: it is where the cerebral hemispheres sit.

When the thalamus isn’t working as it should, it’s most likely because we are feeling disconnected from our ‘true self’. When we lose touch with our authentic self we feel as if everything in life is piling on top of us.  Life is messy, chaotic and very confusing. This loss of self is an underlying problem with several types of addictive and compulsive disorders such as alcohol and mind alerting drugs.

There is no doubt the earth’s changing energies are intensifying our emotions and feelings. The news tells this to us daily with more and more violent crimes. More antidpressant pills are being taken more than ever. More people are in prison, and more people suffer from serious mental illness than ever before.  I think the root of our problems are literally from anything that upsets the safety of our world—a world that is continually changing.  The earth’s magnetic field has a mutual relationship with both the sun and moon and with all the life forms of the ‘biosphere’ (plants, bacteria, fish insects, mammals).  Although this field is subtle it influences the behavior of every living organism.  We are no exception as we contain an auric field generated by the beating of our hearts and by all our body processes…but our body rhythms respond to fluctuations in the earth’s magnetic field—and our bodies are polarized—the head end negative and the tail or feet positive—similar to a battery.

“Fleeing the raw, wounded places in ourselves because we don’t think we  can handle them is a form of self-abandonment”. John Welwood

If you grew up in a troubled family, more than likely you had to hide your true self to survive and what we call the ‘false self’ dominated most of your life. You soon learned that you could never win the full approval of your parents, no matter how much effort you put forward.  Nothing was ever good enough and you never felt quite accepted and you never learnt to accept yourself either—everything you did was a perfect performance for someone else.  This mask is who we pretended to be in an atmosphere of abuse or neglect from within or, later, outside the family.

I do believe, though, that the ‘child within’ still has needs, and from time to time will peep out or show itself through manic behaviors or violent explosive emotions—often hurting the child or someone else.  If these behaviors continue, they could result later in life as eating disorders, compulsive gambling, religious addiction, workaholism, mental illness and family violence.

INTRODUCING PART III ~ Bipolar

Inside each of us is a variety of subpersonalities (archetypes) (eg., the hero, the victim, the nurturer) that contribute to how we respond to life experiences.

In Part III on Manic Depression we’re going to look at astrological charts of three different people diagnosed with manic depression who’ve worked very hard on  themselves and continue to do so through the aid of self-help groups, books, divination, therapies and frequent visits to their doctors.

We’re going to look at several different aspects, including the association of the moon with one’s home, family life and mother, motherhood and long-term bonds and behaviors.  Anatomically the moon represents the stomach, thus it emphasizes a direct link between what we eat and how we feel. It also provides clues to what may be “eating” at us. Psychology rarely studies the role the moon and how it plays in respect to changing moods or the sensations these give rise to, especially with people with bipolar.  Each of us responds to the moon’s cycle in our own unique way and looking at the moon phases, we can learn from them.

Astrology and numerology are a form of divination containing an internal communication network providing us with clues to our mental, physical, and emotional framework; they help us understand our body’s present state including all its past history. Step by step they point us in the right direction, guiding us through the healing process.

To be continued….

ravenstarshealingroom@gmail.com

Great Links….

This blog takes you to into the heart of a bipolar  https//bruisedbybipolar.wordpress.com

Excellent Lecture on the Limbic System ~ Sex, Hallucinations, Emotions, Memory, PTSD, Amygdala    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7nXiXQb2iM   

What is Lithium   http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?  Section=About_Medications&Template=/TaggedPage/TaggedPageDisplay.cfm&TPLID=51&ContentID=20820

Bipolar Disorder and Highly Sensitive People    mentalhealthtalk.info/bipolar_hsp

Bipolar Disorder and Brain   http://www.brainexplorer.org/bipolar_disorder/Bipolar_Disorder_Aetiology.shtml

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“I care enough for myself to nourish myself with all the best that Life has to offer. I learn about nutrition because I am a precious being, and I want to take the best care of me that I can. My body is special and different from all other bodies; therefore I learn the things that my body assimilates the best. 

I learn everything I can about food and beverages. I pay attention to what I eat and drink, and I notice if some food or beverage does not seem to agree with me. If I have something to eat and an hour later I fall asleep, I realize that that particular food is not good for my body at this time. I search out the foods that give me good energy.

 I bless all my food with love and gratitude. I am nurtured and nourished. I feel healthy, happy and great.” ~ Louise Hay Newsletter, Issue 6

Stress, emotional upsets, financial losses, menopause, some medications, and smoking withdrawal can also increase your cravings for comfort food. Food, like any other addiction, is a form of self-medicating. So you have to get to the source of what you are trying to numb. Otherwise, you can go from diet to diet and it won’t matter. You may lose weight, but you will gain it back. You have to face what you’re hiding from, why your self-esteem is affected and replace your meals with essential nutrients that naturally balance and boost your metabolism.

Most people think metabolism is about the body’s ability to burn calories and maintain a healthy weight. Although they’re partly right, metabolism is about the transformation of food into fuel and energy that the whole body needs to continue and function. There is an array of different networks that influence your metabolism; each cell in your body (and there are trillions of them) comes in all different sizes and shapes; individual cells make up tissue, tissue forms organs and organs take part in maintaining your bodily system. Your circulatory system, respiratory system, endocrine system, gastro-intestinal tract, liver, musculoskeletal system, elimination system, nervous system all work in concert and contributes to the homeostatic balance or good of the whole body. All these systems and organs need to be comprised of healthy, well-fed cells in order to carry out their individual jobs in a balanced and efficient manner. So, nourishment of your cells begins with the food you eat.

When your needs aren’t been met, they limit the activity of your cells, slowing down the feedback loop between your body’s enormous communication network. These needs can be emotional or physical in nature creating self-doubt, unexplained nervousness, sudden outbursts of anger or weeping and/or melancholy/depression. Not only that, all the mental and emotional baggage we carry ultimately becomes our biology; we end up carrying too much weight in our mid-section or throughout the body.

Your metabolism is intimately linked with your energy field that contains all your character traits, your beliefs about yourself and the world, as well as all your memories, locked-up emotions, hopes, fears and hang-ups. When we refuse to see a problem or don’t want to deal with anything upsetting, it not only blocks our awareness, it represses our digestive system which is the core of our life-energy, intuition and life expectancy. When we are out of power, we repress our inner impulses, we become stuck, rigid and bound up with acute anxiety, suffering either gastrointestinal problems and/or constipation. In search of healing, we try everything from laxatives, antacids, fiber, and enzymes when all we really need is a healthy diet that would help regulate things. To maintain a healthy digestive tract you need to experiment with food and discover what truly nurtures you; intuitively you need to attune with food that will support your entire subtle system.

Food is alive inside you; it’s, not just a lifeless substance you eat to live. Food is bursting with life-giving energy!

“You may be surprised to learn that your food absorbs and transmits consciousness…and the subtle energies in your meals can profoundly influence your entire life. When you take the time to tune in and connect with the vast array of energy fields within your meal, magic happens. Suddenly you’re no longer contained by the confines of your identity and your physical body. You enter into the awareness that you’re not separate from the universe. Each item of food you ingest can be a key that opens doors of perception and connection…..

 Your food is indeed composed of undulating energy fields that can profoundly impact your life. Many people view their physical body as a static biological entity. However, in reality, your body is a vibrating, intelligent force field of energy that’s constantly transforming and renewing itself. When the viable energies of your food interface with the energy flows of your physical form, it allows you to step into a higher level of spiritual frequency. (But only if you understand how to attune to those fields; this is one of the secret recipes for savoring your life.)

Not only does your food consist of “energy, frequency, and vibration,” but its energy is also always in motion. Beneath the surface of that red apple on your kitchen counter or the buttered toast on your breakfast table exists a river of energy force fields that swirl into form, dissolve, and coalesce once again. All life is energy, and in every moment, we’re immersed in a great ocean of it. It’s constantly ebbing and flowing in constant, ever-changing currents that pulsate through time and space. In every morsel of food you eat, there’s an infinite, yet patterned, timeless cosmic order of waves of pulsating electrons that spiral in and out of existence, which have a profound impact on your body and on your life.” Denise Lin and Meadlow Lin ~ The Mystic Cookbook

We all eat to satisfy different needs. If eating is a form of stress therapy for you, you may find it difficult at first to improve your health by eating better. Our lives are constantly going through cycles of joy and despair; if you’re eating to feed an emotional need it’s going to have a greater physiological effect on your body than all the health foods you buy to improve your life. People who are overweight are no strangers to stressful emotions such as hopelessness, despair, anger, guilt, and anxiety. And what’s worse, thoughts can enlarge the problem, causing us to return to rather quickly to our habitual eating patterns. If this happens and you feel upset and guilty about it, it will constantly perpetuate your continual bingeing to geel good about yourself.

There’s no doubt that our physical surroundings influence who we are. This includes our homes, workplace, as well as the people around us—parents, family teachers, friends, lovers, and even strangers. All of these have the power to shape our lives in all kinds of ways, many of them subconscious.

Unfortunately, most of us are bad judges when it comes to evaluating our own appearance. We look at our bodies from every angle then zoom in and see a certain part of our body as abnormal or by seeing ourselves as having the wrong size or shape. We can become so preoccupied with our hair, teeth, size of our nose, or width of our thighs, we don’t see the parts that are attractive to ourselves and others.

Being self-conscious creates a fluctuation in the rhythm and balance of the mind/body communication network; it diminishes our energy and our self-esteem levels to an all time low. Self- consciousness has been linked to problems such as isolation, loneliness, depression, weight issues, hormonal imbalances, and many different health problems. The more we worry about how we look, the more we’ll struggle with difficulties and temptations.

CASE STUDY

James, at age 40, was a successful corporate lawyer who had been overweight since a child. Recently he was diagnosed with Type II diabetes and tipped the scales at 330 lbs. He hated himself and felt bad that he had to squeeze past people in a crowded bus or movie, and each time he felt these bad feelings, he comforted himself with food.

His doctor told him his blood pressure and cholesterol were high—he had to lose at least 120 lbs or face serious medical consequences, but James didn’t think he was able to do it. He’d been trying commercial programs and quick-fix home remedies since he was a teenager. They all worked for a time—then he gained all the weight back and some extra as well. With ten or fifteen extra pounds his love handles had become a spare tire. James was caught on a roller-coaster of on/off diets; not only were his diets sporadic, so too were his weekdays disorganized and hectic; he never actually had a sit down breakfast or lunch but binged on food all day long.

For many people, just getting through the day is harder than losing weight or living longer. Telling people who feel emotionally isolated and spiritually alone that they may live longer if they just quit smoking, change their diet or begin exercising is not all that motivating when they’re constantly feeling depressed or unhappy.

Food not only numbs our pain. When we eat, the body releases a cascade of rewarding brain chemicals (natural opioids) that make us feel better, setting us up with an addictive relationship with food. It has been proven that people who are ‘stress eaters’ have chronically high levels of adrenaline (epinephrine) and cortisol in their blood. Epinephrine has been called an anxiety hormone because it is known to be called upon when faced with problems or difficulties; cortisol on the other hand is known as the ‘hormone of defeat’ because the adrenals secrete it when we feel overwhelmed or totally discouraged.

 “When stress continues for a long time, and cortisol levels remain high, the body actually resists weight loss. Your body thinks times are hard and you might starve, so it greedily hoards any food you eat and any fat already present on your body. Cortisol also turns adipocytes, young fat cells, into mature fat cells that stick with us forever.

 Cortisol tends to take fat from healthier areas, like your butt and hips, and move it to your abdomen, where cortisol has more receptors. In the process, it turns once-healthy peripheral fat into unhealthy visceral fat that increases inflammation and insulin resistance in the body. This belly fat then leads to more cortisol because it has higher concentrations of a specific enzyme that converts inactive cortisone to active cortisol. The more belly fat you have, the more active cortisol will be converted by these enzymes—yet another vicious cycle created by visceral fat.” Master Your Metabolism ~ Jillian Michaels

Christiane Northrup ~ Abnormal adrenaline and cortisol levels http://www.drnorthrup.com/womenshealth/healthcenter/topic_details.php?topic_id=94

As James and I talked, I had an inkling James may be suffering from adrenal fatigue which can be caused by several different stress factors such as: insomnia, weight gain, depression, hair loss, acne, carbohydrate cravings and lowered immune function. When our adrenals are stressed, we are more susceptible to heart disease, diabetes, stroke and other potentially fatal conditions.

THE TREATMENT

Our bodies tell the story of our lives; they express our fears and aspirations, our deepest secrets and experiences. When reading a body, try to get an overall impression rather than concentrating on a specific area; stay open and let whatever captures your attention. Both James and I felt that his overeating and bingeing had more to do with things inside him than to outside events. Hands-on healing allows us to really become more immersed in ourselves—it relaxes the body allowing us to look non-judgingly at the many patterns that have constructed in our lives; patterns such as our inner parent who prevents us from being more in the present.

When we are not following our true path, our inner-self will use all the tools and skills it has to stop you. If you still don’t listen it will look for other ways to get more and more dramatic. It’s amazing how difficult it is for us to make life changes—we’re reluctant to move forward—fear hurting others and so end up violating our own values. Everything in our system gets all gummed up. When this happens, we use eating, drugs or other mind-altering devices that often result in addictive behavior. But, when an illness strikes or our health is in jeopardy we need to take time to replenish and re-energize ourselves.

“Studies have shown that when an eagle gets old (around age 30) its physical condition deteriorates significantly. At this stage, the eagle retreats from its normal habitat, into a lonely place. Over a 5-6 month period, it undergoes incredible transformation The makeover process of self-revitalization is interesting: the eagle knocks off its own beak against a rock, plucks out its talons and feathers. This facilitates new growth in each area of the removed body part. Finally at the end of the hibernation period, the eagle is restored to its former majestic glory; and is able to live another 30-40 years. Like eagles we too must take time to renew ourselves.”SEVEN SECRETS OF SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE ~ By Victoria Melhado-Daley

 

The value of scanning a person’s aura, is it provides a map or focal area of a person’s physical problems. Then, hands-on-healing works on releasing and relaxing tight areas from tension and blocked or held-in areas. Also with scanning you are gently sending out ripples of positive energy so that when the healing session begins, the client is more and more relaxed, slowly drifting down and deeper towards their inner self.

When I began James treatment, I started at the head position; this helps to balance both hemispheres of the brain, calm the emotions and dissolves a lot of mental thoughts and chatter—it also evens the flow of energy in nerve endings and, brings about well being.

James was struggling with work, he had a good job, the only problem was he either had no energy for it or found it boring or lacked the confidence for it. I got the impression he came to the clinic today, mainly to get permission to quit.

As his body relaxed, I felt that his family history and his mother’s nagging and scolding had a lot to do with his self-esteem, his appearance and weight. As a child his mother fed him less than his brothers and sisters to lose weight but the more she forced this, the more James ‘secretly’ ate. She ridiculed and put him down in front of his friends. As the healing progressed it became clear that James had done the ‘reverse’ of what his mother wanted, so when he binged on food, he was showing her passively and aggressively, ‘you can’t control me, I’m in control of myself’! But in truth he felt powerless. When we feel powerless we get angry. Anger is the emotion we use to protect our boundaries and to show others we want to be treated differently.

When our emotions overwhelm us, we often turn to food to soothe them. Stress is known to create a powerful psychological hunger that never seems to be satisfied no matter how full our stomachs feel. Stress is also the culprit that makes us ignore food that is good for us and instead we grab cookies, candy or ice-cream because we ‘know’ it’s bad.

Now I understood why James ate on the run. Meal time was a tense and stressful time for him; it was a reminder of what he had to endure as a child. Now, being single, he hated having to cook for himself and after all these years hadn’t even tried. “I haven’t been able to find the energy or the motivation to improve my diet, but maybe with alternative therapy there is hope in helping deal with this problem”.

Resting my hands on either side of James collarbone, helps to energize the lymph nodes, vocal chords, thyroid, parathyroid and blood pressure. Energetically, the throat area represents how we express, listen and assert our will out into the world. This area and particularly the thyroid maintain your body temperature, heart rate, muscle contractions and your metabolism, the rate at which food is turned into energy. Chronic fatigue, muscle pain, depression, weight problems and skin problems can be an indication of thyroid problems. I really felt that James may be suffering from thyroid deficiency—especially since low energy was one of his strongest complaints. Another indication of low thyroid is feelings of inadequacy, choking back hurts and swallowing tears. James was definitely displaying these when I first met him. This whole area seemed swallowed up by his past and this past was dulling his senses and keeping him trapped in a holding pattern that was ruining his life.

(The positive attributes of throat area or 5th chakra on an emotional level is about speaking our truth, knowing the truth and acting upon that truth….In a way, what we say, can sometimes determine what the outside world thinks of us. Through our verbal actions we express our true being. Our personality shines outwards for the world to see through spoken communication.)

I noticed treating James’ arms that he had little white bumps on them, known as keratosis pilaris, which possibly indicates a deficiency of essential fatty acids and vitamin A. It’s also another indication that the thyroid’s out of control. Usually problems with the skin has to do with the liver and gall bladder meridians. It’s old debris that has cluttered and accumulated in the system. Inner frustrations can also clog the ‘system’ and overeating and alcohol are known to affect the liver. Stress definitely has an affect on the skin, especially feelings of being disappointed and let-down . If the system becomes sluggish the person usually feels lethargic and really tired. And when we’re tired we eat for energy and usually it’s all the wrong foods so it then becomes a vicious cycle.

Physiologically speaking, hunger begins in the brain when the limbic system determines that the body is low in blood sugar, or glucose. Most of the food you eat is converted into glucose, much of which is converted by the liver into fat for later use. When glucose levels are low, the liver sends signals to the hypothalamus–the small but vital gland at the base of the brain below the thalamus–that blood sugar levels have dipped dramatically. The hypothalamus, in turn triggers stomach contractions or hunger pangs, demanding a fill-up. When nothing happens, nasty growling noises ensue. The hunger cravings can drive you batty, making you feel light-headed and irritable.

In the heart area I noticed James to be a sensitive and child-like person who seemed to get his feelings hurt very easily. Rather than risk being hurt, he had a tendency to stay in his head rather than getting deeply involved with others. Retreating inside his head let him be ‘safe’ or so he thought but also very lonely. I actually felt James was a very sociable kind of person but he didn’t think he could ‘afford’ to fool around or be lighthearted. We talked about this after and I asked James to start a journal and look at any patterns that were preventing him from being more playful in the present. I also suggested he go to trauma counselling which helps adults who were abused as a child. I also recommended, once in the recovery phase to join a group program specifically for individuals who have struggled with their weight due to traumatic childhoods.  Trauma can damage a person’s ability to relate to others; they are constantly on guard and don’t feel free to be their true selves. James agreed he needed guidance and support in this area; at the end of the session, I printed out a list of trauma centers in his area for James to investigate and choose the right  one for him. … [Understanding the impact of trauma  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK207191/

The stomach or solar plexus area was most probably the most out-of-sync area in James whole body. We know that James worked very long hours of detailed mental work. Sometimes doing this kind of work, forces the blood to head and depletes the flow into the stomach and abdominal region. Lack of blood in these areas can cause tension, friction and discomfort here. It can also cause kidney troubles, intestinal problems as well as liver ailments, diabetic conditions hemorrhoids and constipation. All these are caused by holding onto thoughts, feelings, experiences or people that need to be emotionally released.

From a previous article on my blog….

The solar plexus, located at the center of the body (stomach area) is one of the most important chakras because it controls, energizes and affects so many surrounding vital organs; no other organ of the body is so easily disturbed or affected by our emotions than the stomach! This part of your body is also the most important center of the sympathetic nervous system because it is the nerve center that stimulates and reflects your most deepest feelings. Fear, anger, shame, guilt and pain often get stored in the memory cells of the stomach, sitting there for days/months/years until someone, or some outside force awakens them. This area is easily disturbed or imbalanced by negative thoughts and emotions—when these strong impulses are released, they’re sent through the nerves to every part of the body. When strong emotions are released, we have a ‘body flashback’, the cells and muscles of our body temporarily control and produce all kinds of fears and symptoms that we can’t at the time stop. See more here 

There are a pair of hunger hormones secreted by the body–leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is generated by fat cells sending signals to the brain to stop eating when the stomach is full…the trouble is, many people have conditioned or built up a resistance causing their bodies to ignore this internal reminder causing the appetitie supressing leptin levels to drop…making them hungrier.

 “…when leptin signaling doesn’t work, you keep eating because you never feel like you’ve had enough food.

 In addition to the leptin release you get after eating, your body also experiences a leptin surge overnight, while you sleep. This leptin surge boosts your levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone, which helps the thyroid release thyroxine…

 Believe it or not, low levels are not our biggest leptin problem. Researchers are finding that many people who are overweight actually have very high levels of leptin. How could this be? Well, the more fat you have, the more leptin you produce. And similar to what happens in insulin resistance, when the body continually cranks out excess levels of leptin in response to overeating—the receptors for leptin can start to get out or no longer recognize. People with leptin resistance have high levels of circulating leptin, but their receptors cannot accept it, neuropeptide Y never gets shut off, they remain hungry and their metabolism slows down. (This high level of neuropeptide Y also interferes with your T4 activity, further damaging your metabolism.)” Master Your Metabolism ~ Jillian Michaels

Leptin resistance and insulin resistance go hand in hand, but just like with insulin resistance, if you lose a bit of weight, your body will become more sensitive to leptin and it will start acting the way it was intended to—to help you push away from the able and say “Enough!”

The other hormone ghrelin increases the appetite. Released primarily in the stomach, ghrelin levels rise (spike) dramatically before you eat. Research has found that obese persons do not show the rapid fall in ghrelin levels after meals, which in turn may lead to continued food intake and obesity. It spikes again when your stomach feels empty. This is why people who restrict their calories have high levels of ghrelin—the fewer calories they eat, the hungrier they get.

Another interesting tidbit was James’ astrological chart (which I looked at after the treatment). One aspect that stood out strongly to me was the Moon square Pluto—it confirmed we were on the right track.

“Consider the themes of Moon and create from them a sense of struggle for survival, and a propensity to Spartanism (a key tenet of Pluto) the mother therefore might not be especially nurturing. The same can be said for those with Moon in Pluto’s domicile, Scorpio and also his house, the 8th. Very often children with these placements are made to ‘make do’ or suffer some form of privation that sets them apart from others. One friend of mine with a strong Moon-Pluto configuration was always forced to make do with the cheapest school shoes and soccer boots, such that they hurt his feet because they were so cheap and poorly made. His mother saw the cost of good shoes as a waste of money since he would only grow out of them anyway. This seemingly trivial economy belies the normal priorities for a mother at least in the eyes of the child: the mother is supposed to consider the welfare, happiness and comfort of the child as being of paramount importance and yet here is a subtle message that the child is undervalued, not worth the expense and not very well nurtured.

 This lesson is often taken to heart too.

 The Moon-Pluto child might become painfully awkward when attending to their own nurturing as a result. As adults they may develop compulsions about food and dietary issues and this is why Moon-Pluto more than any other contact seems to associate with eating disorders, although in general terms there will invariably be several other supporting factors in the astrology too. “http://chirotic.wordpress.com/2009/02/20/moon-pluto-the-gathering-storm/

All in all the actual Reiki treatment lasted just over an hour. As James slowly woke-up (he fell asleep), I suggested he ask his doctor for a complete blood test that included all vital glands and organs. I explained the energies that were depleted and the visions I saw as the treatment progressed. I told him eating disorders are very common with low self-esteem but bingeing often starts as a way to cope with abuse, upsetting relationships or controlling parents. The possibilities are endless and the root of the problem needs to be uncovered, or his habit of bingeing would continue. I told James he needs to talk about his feelings instead of acting on them. I felt it was extremely important that James talk to his doctor about his bingeing and highly recommended he asked his doctor to recommend a counselor trained in eating disorders.

When asked James if he was happy at his work. He wasn’t at all. So I asked him what he would like to do? ‘Well’, he said rather shyly, ….’I’d like to sell real estate’. ‘Wow”, I said, ‘go for it!. Learning something new will give you the confidence you need and it’ll be a huge change from doing the same type of job over and over again’. He was surprised at my enthusiasm but wasn’t quite sure how it would be accepted by others. I asked James ‘how old are you’? He answered forty and then got the drift of what I was getting at…and replied with a chuckle twelve! He realized he was living back at that age and noticed there were a lot of things in his life that needed changing. When we change, everyone around us also begins to change. After giving it quite alot of thought, James decided to start taking some night school classes in real estate.

I also suggested he learn to cook! We had a dietician in the clinic who was holding a class in a couple of weeks called Food and Mood Eating; it was based on the premise that simple meals could be designed to provide enough carbohydrates to activate the insulin-tryptophan-serotonin connection and enough protein that wouldn’t upset the whole serotonin balance. “Serotonin what” James questioned. I quickly told him low serotonin levels are what give you that nagging need to put something in your mouth, and especially sweet or starchy food. James signed up for the cooking class!

SEROTONIN

Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that controls both emotion and eating. Serotonin keeps us awake during the day, it influences our appetite, boosts our energy levels and makes us feel relaxed and good about ourselves. If serotonin levels are low, you’ll find yourself craving for sweets or constantly wanting to binge on foods. We tend to eat to make ourselves feel better…and it works because the more carbohydrates we eat, our serotonin levels go up! The problem is, the more weight we put on, the more serotonin it takes to elevate our mood. I told James a product called 5-HTP, purchased from any health store is a great way to increase the brain serotonin levels…it’s also effective in treating depression. Also, I told him a natural serotonin booster is laughter—how often do you really laugh?

DIETS

Forget about diets, they don’t work. ..instead of counting calories, carbs or fat, eat natural high-quality food and try to avoid a lot of fat and sugar. The best thing you can do for your body is cut down on red meats, sugar, and fats, and eat more whole grains, vegetables, fruits, leans meats and instead of dairy products, try rice or almond milk instead. Avoid process meats as they help to pack on the pounds and build up the wrong chemicals in your body. Eating the wrong chemicals causes dramatic hormonal shifts wh;ich start to wear down the body’s natural healing process. I know when talking hormones we automatically think of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone but in this case we’re talking about the whole endocrine system.

 “…We have to wake up and realize that every bit we take and every lifestyle choice we make matters. Not just for calories or fat or carbs, but because those bites or choices tell our bodies how to react. With bite after bite, sip after sip, breath after breath—when we pick the wrong foods or surround ourselves with toxic chemicals, each moment of consumption tells our hormones to do things that, consciously, we would never want them to do.

 We have to learn how our modern food supply and toxic world interact with our hormones. We have to understand exactly how they make us overweight and sick. That’s the only way we can set it right again and that is what Master Your Metabolism is all about.” Master Your Metabolism ~ Jullian Michaels

ENZYMES

Enzymes are what makes metabolism happen! That’s why they are so important for digestion. If the body does not have enough oxygen, glucose and nutrients in the blood our metabolism will slow down and we will be more susceptible to illness. Nearly all processed and refined foods have very little enzymes and without these the body isn’t getting enough nutrients. When the body can’t convert the food you eat into energy, it causes a person to eat even more, in an effort to get those ‘essential nutrients’. Most overweight people are enzyme-deficient which is why they continue to feel hungry, even after a large meal. When we understand what the term metabolism means, it’s not how fast you metabolize food but how efficiently you convert food into energy. Every function of your body needs energy, not only to move, run, exercise and speak but also to simply grow hair, breathe, digest our food, fight illness and especially to use our brains.

Sprouted foods like alfalfa, buckwheat and lentil contain a valuable supply of enzymes that are vital for good health. Also fresh fruits and vegetables are vital providers of enzymes too. Raw foods help to cleanse the system but living on salads is not going to give you a lot of vital ‘yang’ energy….so no more than a third of your diet should be raw, except in very hot weather. Avoid ice-cream or any food or drink from the fridge as the cold slows down both the spleen and stomach functions. Unfortunately cooked foods have very little enzyme content.

We all know magnesium is important for the bones and teeth, it’s also helps in absorbing calcium, phosphorous, sodium and potassium as well vitamin B’s, C and E. But what a lot of people don’t know is that magnesium is responsible for more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. It helps in metabolizing carbohydrates, fats and proteins and in the conversion of glucose into energy. The adrenal glands regulate the amount of magnesium with a hormone known as aldosterone. Magnesium cannot be stored in body for long periods of time and therefore we need to eat foods with this mineral in them. Kelp, wheat bran, almonds, wheat germ, cashews, soya beans, walnuts, beetroot greens, spinach, parsley, garlic, bananas, peas, potatoes are some foods rich in magnesium.

MINERALS

Minerals play an important role in regulating the acid/alkaline levels of the body, and, they are a major factor in regard to your metabolism. They are the spark plugs of the body, transmitting vital electrical and magnetic forces (positive/negative charges) which are constantly required to energize the body and keep it running efficiently. There are fourteen essential minerals that are required for the body to work properly and they must be consumed in our diet, as the body is unable to produce them.

(Minerals are converted into organic salts which are dissolved in our bodily fluids (water and blood) and broken up into the form of IONS which are either positively or negatively charged. When these IONS are dissolved in our bodily fluids they conduct an electrical energy which repel and attract one another. The minerals sodium (not salt) and potassium for example are both positively charged while the minerals fluorine and chlorine are negatively charged. The functions of minerals in the body are very complex when we realize the way energy is transferred in the body. These functions are essential for a multitude of body movements, such as relaxation and contraction of your muscles as well as nerve impulses from the spinal cord and brain to all parts of the body.)

As soon as food is eaten, the digestive system begins to separate food into minute particles and compounds, which are then capable of passing through the walls (Epithelium Cells) of the small intestine and then into the bloodstream. The movement these minute food particles, from one side of the intestinal wall to the outerside is known as osmosis. The continuous movement of nutrients can only take place when there are a variety of minerals from the food we eat. Refined and processed foods lack the minerals needed for this, causing waste and impurities to enter the bloodstream. This creates a constant need and search for food to keep the body healthy, which makes us overeat and adding unwanted pounds and health problems.

THE FIVE ELEMENTS

In relation to ancient philosophies, there are five different aspects of energy known as the Five Elements—Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood (Deepak Chopra mentions six). Each of these elements have different qualities of energy And they also have their own particular “flavor”. Fire is known as bitter, Earth is sweet, Metal is pungent, Water is salty and Wood is sour.

 “Traditionally, all foods have six flavors to it. And what happens is, if your taste buds are not experiencing all the 6 tastes each day, then that causes imbalance in the body. After all we have these taste buds for a certain purpose. The six tastes are the following: Sweet, Sour, Salt, Bitter, Pungent, and Astringent.

 It turns out that our taste buds are distributed in a certain manner. For example, the tip of the tongue is highly concentrated for sweet taste, The back of the tongue for bitter taste, sides of the tongue more for receptors of sour taste, the surface of the tongue, more for salty taste….and then the other tastes I mentioned, pungent and astringent…there are few receptors for this, yet each taste is quite characteristic in that both have an affect on the body.” Deepak Chopra, Magical Mind, Magical Body

The five elements or six are different qualities of ‘chi’ energy, which manifest in the universe and also manifest in us, linking us with our environmen, the cycle of the seasons and the hours. The way we respond, physically, and emotionally to outside influences and to the forces of nature depends on the balance of the elements within us. Fire is the element of heat, summer, enthusiasm, and warmth in human relationships. Earth is the element of harvest time, abundance, nourishment, fertility and the mother-child relationship. Metal includes the Western idea of the air element as well as the force of gravity, the minerals within the earth, the patterns of the plants and stars as well as electricity and magnetism. Water is the source of life, the capacity to flow, infinitely yielding yet infinitely powerful, ever-changing and dangerous. It is the most Yin of all the elements. Wood is the most human of the elements. It is the element of Spring, and the creative urge to achieve, which turns to anger when frustrated.

Each of these elements also governs a meridian or organ function in the body as well as a personality or emotion, so that any disturbance in the elements will affect the mind and body in different ways.

FOOD TALKS

We have lost touch with ‘natural living’; most of the foods we eat today are nutritionally imbalanced from chemically processed foods and packaged in the frozen section of your grocer or in tins and bottles.

When you walk into a grocery story, listen and let the food talk to you; you’ll know this is happening as you’ll be magnetically drawn to them. Every time you gravitate to a specific fruit or vegetable, that’s your intuition talking. All positive foods give off an energy an aliveness that attracts you to them. Be aware when you go shopping and you’ll gravitate to all the positive-energy foods. When we are around positive foods, our body resonates with the foods’ light-energy; we become happier, lighter, and definitely hungrier.

“Which vegetables look vibrant? Fresh? Or withered: Also smell them: fragrance is a sign of high energy. Then beyond this, practice intuiting their vibes (useful in reading organic produce, which may not look as blemish free as chemically treated produceI. Does a vegetable emit a glow, an aliveness? Do you feel drawn to it? Lusciously alive food can shoot spotlights of joyful energy toward you that open your heart—especially palpable when you slice these delectable morsels at home, releasing their inner energy.

 In contrast, a dead vegetable seems sad, listless, or lacks attraction, indicators of waning life force. To get a full vibe assessment, also be sure to hold the vegetable. While doing so, cup your palm a few inches above the surface to sense its energy field, just as you do with people. Alive foods emit heat, tingling, even ecstasy. Dead foods feel more like lumps. Then, notice where you’re physically drawn, a magnetic feeling. Your body knows where to go. Don’t force it, but pay attention: Are you pulled toward the watercress? Does okra repel you? An artichoke beckon? Reading energy is initially visual, then feeling which healthy foods attract you. If you keep gravitating to candy bars or other comfort foods, be suspicious…..Also know: anything you buy in packages—pastas, soups, cheeses—have lower energy than fresh, organic food.” Positive Energy: 10 Extraordinary Prescriptions For Transforming Fatigue ~ Judith Orloff

 As you walk up and down the isles of your favorite grocer, notice how your body responds to foods that aren’t so energetic. Foods that are farther from their natural state lacks the nutrition your body needs, your intuition will notice this and naturally gravitate to foods that are higher in nutritional value.

EXERCISE, LEARNING FROM EATING PATTERNS and EATING WITH AWARENESS are all located in Part I here

You’ve probably noticed that rich, heavy foods (such as pasta, steak, rich sauces, breads, and pastires and cakes) tend to leave you feeling rather heavy and lethargic—as will alcohol, after the first rush has faded.

Highly spiced foods, coffee, and green/black tea are examples of foods that leave you feeling energetic, though they can make you restless and irritable.

Most fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will leave you feeling balanced, calm, clear-headed and relaxed.

Eating with awareness, you’ll never have a weight problem, ever. When you eat with awareness you enjoy your food more fully; you notice how food affects you and will, most likely, not overeat; you’ll become more aware of your habits; and awareness will help you change that habit. Paying attention you won’t need to overeat that’ll cause you to gain weight and you’ll eat less and enjoy your food more.

Whenever you eat, no matter how much or how little, make a rule you are going to sit down and do that. Don’t eat when you’re standing, don’t eat while you’re driving, don’t eat while your walking, don’t eat while speaking on the phone, etc. .

When you eat while doing something else, liked reading the paper, on the computer or watching tv, then you’re not paying attention to what you’re eating. When you eat unconsciously you’ll find the food almost gone and you hardly even tasted it! Your mind can only focus on one thing at a time. Yes, it can shift back and forth but in practicing awareness your mind should only pay attention to one thing.

MEDITATION IS THE ART OF PAYING ATTENTION

“I would not be happy in a world without chocolate, so I have developed a Haagen-Dazs meditation. When I eat the teaspoon of ice cream, I close my eyes and meditate—on the rich flavor, the cold rush, the wonderful sensations as the ice cream melts on my tongue. I would prefer to have a small spoonful of Deep Chocolate Fuge Haagen-Dazs than a pint of a fake-frozen dessert. It’s exquisitely satisfying. After all, the first bite is always the best and the last bite is the next best—so if you eat only a bit, then it can be heaven, but only if you really pay attention.” EAT MORE, WEIGH LESS ~ Dr. Dean Ornish

Meditation is about appreciating and being aware of everything and everyone around you, it’s also about going quietly within to learn more about yourself and others on a deeper level. Meditation is about letting go of old thoughts and patterns and seeing things in a different perspective. There are countless books and sites on this topic with simple exercises to get you started. Try it out, you’ll enjoy it.

Links – More to Follow

http://vitalitymagazine.com/article/how-stress-can-make-you-fat/

Insulin Resistance   http://vitalitymagazine.com/article/insulin-resistance-the-slippery-slope-to-type-ii-diabetes/

Enzymes   http://vitalitymagazine.com/article/enzymes/

Digestive Enzymes and Cancer   http://vitalitymagazine.com/article/digestive-enzymes-and-the-treatment-of-cancer/

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“Menopause is not just the end of fertility and childbearing years that are so often seen as a women’s prime. It is the time for a woman to take charge of her health and make the changes that will carry her through her second prime of life”. Bernadine Healy, M.D. Former Director, National Institutes of Health

As mothers, we can’t live and breathe for our partners, our children, we can’t tie ourselves to another person’s shadow; our accomplishments are supposed to be our own. Menopause is about using our common sense, to follow our hunches and follow our own dreams. We have to let go the need to rescue or change anyone and keep our needs up front.

The women’s body is, if we’d only stop and listen, a great teacher that spiritually leads us through a series of powerful initiations—menstruation, pregnancy, birth, and menopause—which transforms us in dramatic ways. Menopause is a natural part of life and can act as a catalyst to support our hunger and longing to explore our inner world and to listen to the quiet voice of our soul. It is an individualized process for each woman. Menopause reconnects us to our passions and emotions, you know those neglected and forsaken ones we ignored while nurturing and taking care of those who depended on us…our families.

“Christiane Northrup describes menopause as a change from an alternating current of wisdom to a direct current. In menopause, instead of an ebb and flow of intuition, you now have a constant flow. In that light, it’s not surprising that many cultures regard older women as wise women and celebrate the ‘wisdom of the crone.’ These women possess not only the wisdom of age and experience but also the wisdom of intuition. And they’re not afraid to use it and act on it. It’s a widely observed fact that many women, after menopause become much more forthright and assertive than they were in their youth. Joan Borysenko put it bluntly: in menopause, she writes, “Women get mouthy.” This occurs because there’s a falling-away of the inhibitions that kept women from shooting arrows indiscriminately the way men do. This change may be a result of increased androgen production. The women who were more tentative in their youth, waiting a long time before even shooting at a target and thereby missing a lot of opportunities, in later life often assume more male patterns of processing. After menopause, they’re more likely to see, shoot, and then score, as men did earlier in life.

All this should really give women something to cheer about and celebrate as they ender the age of menopause and beyond. Menopause is not a dead-end journey into decline and oblivion; it’s an opportunity to tap fully into the intuition network and avail themselves fruitfully of all the wealth of insight and information that network has to offer. Mona Lisa Schulz, Awakening Intuition
If menopause is supposed to be a normal natural event and a time of regeneration and celebration, why have some women suffered a barrage of psychological and physiological conditions and in some cases even become suicidal? Is there a link between estrogen deficiency and mental illness? Could it also be a woman’s reluctance to adjust to change?

“The menopausal transition is actually a profound developmental stage in which unfinished business from the past comes up once again for resolution and healing, so that we can free ourselves from the outmoded beliefs and behaviors of our past. All the issues that weren’t resolved during puberty and early adulthood — such as body image, relationships, vocation, fear of aging, and self-esteem issues — now arise once more to be healed and completed…”
Christiane Northrup ~The Wisdom of Menopause ~ http://www.drnorthrup.com/womenshealth/healthcenter/topic_details.php?topic_id=111

“I didn’t adjust well at all, at first” said Jill, a former client and now good friend, “menopause was supposed to be a time for ‘me’, especially after giving away most of my life to my husband, parents, even my children; but I was vividly upset and overwhelmed by it all. I found it excruciatingly difficult to create healthy boundaries, let alone do any creative work and follow my dreams. Menopause literally knocked me down…it was disruptive and explosive as were my crazy hormones and emotions.

When I moved from the perimenopausal stage to my menopausal years my mind went back to my younger days, my twenties, when I was passionate about life, full of ambition, with visions of becoming someone. Menopause was quite shocking and confrontational…it was crude and direct, daring and challenging me to live my life differently. But I didn’t understand it at first and found myself with tears running down my face, grieving and paining for what seemed lost time. I looked in the mirror at the wrinkles around our eyes, the gray flowing through my hair and smoothed gobs of moisturizing lotion into my dry skin to feel better.

Oh don’t get me wrong, being a mother to my two children has been my greatest joy, but they have a life of their own now…menopause felt ruthless and fierce as it forced me, no challenged me to look deep within myself. For the first time in my entire life, even though I’m married, I felt very much alone”.

When we’ve allowed a major portion of our energy to be focused somewhere other than present time, we have to do something to refocus it. We have to stop obsessing about the past or future event—release it—and call our energy back to the present.

“After menopause, especially if this coincides with children leaving home, a woman can believe her reason for being has gone, and there is no impulse to create a new direction, or to find a new purpose.

Do you feel a loss of purpose now that the potential for motherhood is over?

Do you feel you have lost your womanhood or femininity?

Have you lost your dreams and longings?

Have you found a direction for yourself, that is just for you, and not related to being a mother or wife?

The strength of your bones is at stake, as is the strength of your core feelings, your inner purpose for being. The bones are connected to spirit, so you need to raise your spirit to bring it into action, rather than let it fade away.

What can you do to bring more vibrancy and spirit into your life?”
Deb Shapiro ~Your Body Speaks Your Mind

Many women in their menopausal years, start to experience sensations and changes in their body: thyroid problems, hot flashes, night sweats, headaches, confusion, irregular periods, vaginal dryness, insomnia and heart palpitations. Hot flashes cause sudden blushing of the whole face, which is so darn embarrassing when in a meeting with the boss or being with a large group. It feels like everyone’s watching as it’s happening! And the mood swings are embarrassing too as we try to cope with our out-of-control hormones. Doctors and gynecologists were eager in the past to prescribe hormonal treatments (HRT) and women took it eagerly because advertisements promised it would prevent wrinkles and hair loss and keep them young forever. But HRT also caused side-affects and weight gain which added to a woman’s already insecurity.

A very interesting site on HRT “While HRT can ease symptoms of menopause, there are also some health risks to consider” See more at: http://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/hrt-effects-on-body#sthash.TQXOfYzW.dpuf

With Jill and other women like her, I found that some women have a very strong sensitivity to the declining levels of estrogen in their blood. In fact perimenopausal, which is before menopause, can cause quite a fluctuation in our hormone levels and our very sensitive endocrine system to react wildly.

“When menopause comes it is often seen as an ending to our femininity, an ending to our purpose for being here as a woman, and therefore a loss of direction and fulfillment. It is a highly emotional time (Hence its direct relationship to blood), particularly to do with our feelings of whether we are still lovable and desirable. Many women can become severely depressed at this time, just as men may do when they retire and find they have nothing to do any more – a time known as the male menopause. There is a deep need to find the woman inside, not the one that is just a fertile body but the one that goes beyond procreative abilities; to find a deeper purpose for being here, in other words to find our spiritual direction for ourselves. Menopause like retirement can be a time for discovering freedom, individuality, tremendous change and challenge. It can also be a rebirth”. The BodyMind Workbook, Deb Shapiro

Great article: Perimenopause: A Time of Personal Empowerment
http://vitalitymagazine.com/article/perimenopause-a-time-of-personal-empowerment/

MENOPAUSE THE END OF THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE

To try and understand the menstrual cycle we need to turn to the endocrine system that governs and regulates it by a complex of interacted hormones: Luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), estrogen and progesterone and are divided into three unique phases: follicular, ovulatory and luteal. The follicular phase usually starts from day 1 after menstruation to about day 11, the ovulation phase from day 12 to approximately day 14 and the luteal phase from approximately day 15 to 28. The whole menstrual cycle is like a well-choreographed dance, with each phase relying on a specific and extremely delicate hormonal balance. But this delicate balance becomes unhinged when the menopausal years strike. Menopause usually begins between the ages of 47 and 56 but the perimenopausal years, which means ‘around menopause’ can start in the mid-thirties; this usually varies from woman to woman. It is at this time the production of estrogen and progesterone begins to decline.

When estrogen levels strike an all time low, the brain and in particular the hypothalamus, has no way of knowing the menstrual cycle is no longer necessary. Confused, the brains’ neurotransmitters keeps initiating the process of pumping FSH and LH into the bloodstream. (There are a lot of receptors for estrogen, progesterone and androgens throughout the brain) In the perimenopausal women her LH and FSH can rise higher than her fertile years…all due to the fact that the pituitary and hypothalamus are alert and aware of the lower levels of estrogen in the body.

So, in perimenopause and menopause your estrogen levels rise higher than they’ve ever been but they’re also constantly fluctuating up and down like a yo-yo. Estrogen and progesterone are supposed to be balanced but in our menopausal years, progesterone can dip to all time low. This can affect the adrenals and the hormone they create called cortisol. When this happens we can actually suffer premenstrual symptoms (PMS): like fighting the strong desire to nod off, craving for sweets, muscle aches and pains, headaches, breast tenderness, uncomfortable bloating, depression and emotional problems. Unfortunately when a woman complains to her doctor of these symptoms, she’s given an estrogen patch, pill or cream, which only makes all of her symptoms worse!

“Excess cortisol leads to weight gain in the abdomen and face, increased blood pressure, erratic blood sugar levels, strange hair growth, acne, depression and irritability, bone thinning, muscle weakness, and irregular menstruation.” All is Well: Heal Your Body with Medicine, Affirmations, and Intuition ~ By Louise L. Hay and Mona Lisa Shulz

Usually the first sign of menopause is irregular periods caused by hormone fluctuation, inconsistent ovulation and decreased levels of estrogen. With lower levels of estrogen, the luteal phase of the menstrual period is shortened. The luteal phase usually occurs around 15-28 days of the regular menstrual period. FSH and LH are generally at their lowest levels at this time but increase during menopause and FSH more so in an effort to continue ovarian production. The brain has no way of knowing the ovaries egg production has come to a stand-still. The increase levels of FSH in perimenopausal women and menopausal women is probably the cause of hot flashes, which tend to increase the production of estrogen. As estrogen levels drop back to normal, so too do the hot flashes.

There are three main types of estrogen: estrone, estriol and estradiol, and they each have a different role in the body. Estradiol is by far the strongest. Estrone is one that seems to promote breast cancer, and estriol is the weakest, appearing to protect users from breast cancer.
http://vitalitymagazine.com/article/hormones-for-healthy-menopause/

Hormonal fluctuations, imbalances and lower levels of progesterone to estrogen can cause us to feel panicky, anxious and even depressed.

Before we get into the thyroid, there’s one more organ in the body that I’d like to address….the liver. The liver is an amazing organ, weighing a little heavier than the brain, that works 24/7 synthesizing and detoxifying the body. Hormonal problems can occur when the liver isn’t functioning normally—that’s because it’s here that the hormones are assembled and then broken down to be excreted from the body. When the liver is overcome by toxins from the environment, food, stress and other factors it doesn’t work as happily as it should. When it gets bogged down, every organ in the body can be affected—it can cause skin problems, cellulite, abdominal bloating, indigestion, high blood pressure, fatigue, mood swings and depression.

The liver is one of the main factors in the formation of sexual hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. It also produces up to a quart of bile a day. Bile production is one of the most important jobs of the liver. Bile works a bit like detergent, emulsifying the fat content in our food and changing it to fuel—the fat is changed into very fine droplets so that it can easily blend with the water in the intestines. Bile is made of water, cholesterol and bile salts—its job is to absorb digested fats, cholesterol (both HDL and LDL), and vitamins A, D E and K. If your bile is thicker than normal, you could become constipated. And if you don’t empty your bowels regularly, the estrogen your liver had excreted out of the body, could be reabsorbed in your system…causing an estrogen overload in the body. Bile salts act as a deodorizer for our excretement—if when you go to washroom and the smell is offensive…it’s possible the liver isn’t working as well as it should.

Don’t panic when you hear the word cholesterol. Cholesterol is one of the most vital substances in every cell of your body. Doctors aren’t as eager now to offer cholesterol-lowering drugs because studies done, show cholesterol-lowering drugs can increase the risk of cancer and other illnesses as well as increase in anxiety and mental illness.

Menopause creates a lot of anger and resentment in many women. Anger and resentment are the two keywords used by Traditional Chinese Medicine and healers to describe a unbalanced liver and gallbladder. Whether we like it or not, menopause tells us our youth is over. If we try to avoid it all we do is create more stress in our lives and stuck energy or congestion in the body. Menopause is a time to look at parts of us we’ve ignored or kept hidden…we have to look at the emotions we don’t like so much in ourselves and reconnect with the good and the bad to recreate ourselves into a more authentic being. When we do, we’ll touch upon areas in our live we’ve been out of touch with and integrate them into our personality.

“Problems with the liver often reflect strong negative emotions that have not been dealt with by the individual….Deep anger and chronic fault-finding—with self and others—can help weaken liver function. Are we trying to deceive ourselves about something negative in our life? Are we refusing to clean up an aspect of our life? Are we exposed to constant complaining and criticism? Do we have feelings of “I never do anything right”? Are we refusing to clean up the past and move on? Are we wallowing in self-pity and hatred? Are we not doing what we can to help ourselves? Are we refusing to take the initiative (after all, the liver strongly affects overall metabolism)?

Problems in this area [gallbladder] can indicate we are trying to digest things too quickly or are not digesting what we have experienced; we are not learning our lessons. Such problems as gallst ones can indicate we are holding onto hard thoughts and bitter experiences rather than moving past them. We are holdng onto the past and allowing it to fill our life, rather than moving forward with joy and anticipation to the future.” THE HEALER”S MANUAL – A Beginner’s Guide to Vibrational Therapies ~ Ted Andrews

One of the best foods to improve the liver and keep the bile flowing is beets. Beets can also help to reduce the forming of gallstones. Dark leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, artichokes, cabbage and brussel sprouts help in the metabolism of estrogen. A supplement called milk thistle is great for the liver and can be found in your local health food store. Garlic together with ginger root has been known to be a great liver flush or cleanser for the body. And a high-fiber diet will keep your cholesterol and blood sugar levels balanced and your bowels working properly.

Great article on the liver http://heartspring.net/detoxification_liver_diet.html

HORMONAL FLUCTUATIONS AND THE THYROID

“Before women go through menopause, they have higher levels of estrogen and progesterone in their bodies. But there are other factors at play as well. These hormone levels, combined with a brain style that more constantly mixes emotion with language, lead to a tendency toward self-reflection. Women who have not yet gone through menopause innately tend to be less aggressive and impulsive in their communication, meaning they are more likely to not say what they really think in an effort to preserve relationships and family ties. This communication style often settles a tense situation but it doesn’t necessarily address the personal needs of the woman involved, which can lead to thyroid problems at a young age. Woman’s communication styles—and their incidence of thyroid problems is higher than the number of men or younger women. As women enter into menopause, the ratio of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone shifts, with the first two falling the last one rising. At this point women become more impulsive and less reflective, and this new communication style often creates new problems within their relationships and family. Then, their incidence of thyroid disorders escalates. Women are then biologically predisposed to assert themselves by reacting, moving, and expressing more after menopause. Whether it is a matter of not stating what you need or ineffectively expressing your desires, the inability to communicate well leads to thyroid problems. If you can’t assert yourself effectively and you feel hopelessly stifled or are constantly getting in arguments, you are at an increased risk for thyroid problems.

Other studies have tied a subdued personality and an inability to speak up for yourself to thyroid disease. Specifically, people who have had a history of past trauma and often struggle with power dynamics in their later relationships tend to have problems with the thyroid. The experiences of their past conditioned them to be submissive, overly compliant and unable to assert themselves. They don’t “have a say” in their own lives and lack a drive for independence and self-sufficiency.” All Is Well: Heal Your Body With Medicine, Affirmations, and Intuition ~Louise L. Hay and Mona Lisa Schulz

The thyroid is a small butterfly shaped gland located in the front part of the throat at the base of the neck just over the trachea or windpipe. It is the main gland that controls your body’s metabolic rate and its energy; that is the rate cells burn food calories for energy. (The thyroid controls the growth, temperature, and function of every cell in your body) In one full year the thyroid will probably produce only about one teaspoon of hormones but this tiny little amount has a lot to do with your energy levels.

When ‘some’ women hit the perimenopausal and menopausal years their thyroid’s energy production for some reason slows down. When the thyroid becomes sluggish, so too does our metabolism and energy, resulting in many different symptoms such as fatigue, poor digestion, constipation, depression, muscle aches, heart palpitations, forgetfulness, dry skin, etc. This happened to myself, even though I ate well and exercised regularly, I really felt down in the dumps and constantly tired. As well, I was having heart palpitations that not only drove me crazy, they frightened and exhausted me. I actually wrote about my story in an article on my blog https://ravenstarshealingroom.wordpress.com/2009/07/11/zooming-in-on-the-thyroid/  Also take a look at https://ravenstarshealingroom.wordpress.com/2009/07/11/emotionally-psychologically-and-spiritually-decoding-the-thyroid/

It really has surprised me that even now with more doctors informed about low thyroid in the perimenopausal/menopausal years that many women and men are not tested or misdiagnosed. Many tests results for TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) come back within the normal range even though the person(s) have all the symptoms of an underactive thyroid. As well, many people aren’t even given a blood test to check their TSH levels and instead put on antidepressants or in some cases birth control pills. One woman that came to clinic, said her doctor didn’t take her symptoms seriously and told her to exercise more. Wtf?

“…hypothyroidism increases cholesterol, a major risk factor for heart disease…older women with subclinical hypothyroidism are nearly twice as likely as women without the condition to have heart attacks and were 70 percent more likely to have hardened aortas—the body’s main artery—than those of normal hormone activity.

Heart disease is not only the only disturbing consequence of untreated hypothyroidism. According to Richard Shames, M.D., author of Thyroid Power, thyroid malfunction has been linked to such disorders as fibromyalgia, eczema, infertility, attention deficit disorder, phobias, loss of ambition, panic attacks, depression, and other mental illnesses”. The Hormone Survival Guide for PERIMENOPAUSE, Nisha Jackson, Ph.D.

If you think I’m trying to scare you, well in a way I am. Many of us women have a ‘knowing’ something’s not quite right but don’t refute the diagnosis of our doctors. If you feel something’s amiss, get a second opinion!

If you’ve been under constant high-stress, high-pressure situations then your adrenaline is constantly rushing to give you energy. Your sympathetic nervous system is ‘on’ constantly, working overtime and causing your metabolism to go sky high. Whether the stress is positive or netavie, the body has the same response. The problem with this is that your parasympathetic nervous can’t do its job of calming you down. This can have adverse affects on your immune and cardiovascular system as well as your emotions. When this happens the sympathetic nervous system works overtime causing your adrenals to pump and secrete more adrenaline and cortisol. You can tell this is happening…you can feel your heart pounding in your chest. Too much cortisol is also associated with obesity, high blood pressure and insulin resistance which runs you the risk of diabetes. It has been noted that 80 percent of all illnesses are caused by stress-related disorders. These can range from migraine headaches to high blood pressure, ulcers, arthritis, asthma, eczema and as we know heart disease.

The more adrenaline produced in the body, the more the body needs progesterone and unfortunately during the perimenopause/menopause years we are more deficit in this hormone. In fact, stress can lead to estrogen dominance and deplete our progesterone even more.

We are constantly evolving and changing….change is an upward cyclical movement; life is a circle that returns to the beginning and moves on and on into a spiral. The source is endless…the only thing we can honestly say about life is that things are going to change. Will you welcome change as new opportunity or will you resist change with a vengeance? I’ve found no one to explain menopause as well as Abraham channeled by Ester Hicks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1kz-DAC8BM Abraham believes menopause is economically driven.

Adapting to change takes awareness, honesty, acceptance and patience. It is our lack of awareness of our bodies natural processes that set us up with a constant chain reaction of stress. It is interesting how fear distorts our true feelings which causes self-rejection and the rejection of others. Look at change as an opportunity to look upon yourself and others with patience trust and love….it is true, we create our life experiences by our attitudes.

MENOPAUSE AND THE KUNDALINI/CHAKRAS

A wonderful book by Susan Weed called “In The Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way” she mentions ‘hot flashes’ are ‘kundalini training sessions and not classified as a dis-ease or syndrome.

“Kundalini is the root of all spiritual experience…Kundalini is a special kind of energy known in many cultures, including Tibetan, Indian, Sumerian, Chinese, Irish, Aztec, and Greece. Kundalini is said to be hot, fast, powerful and large. It exists within the earth, within all life, and within each person. Psychoanalyst, Carl G Jung called Kundalini “anima”. Kundalini is usually represented as a serpent coiled at the base of the spine, but women’s mystery stories locate it in the uterus—or the area where the uterus was, if a hysterectomy has occurred. During both puberty and menopause, a woman’s kundalini is difficult to control and may cause a number of symptoms.

East Indian yogis, spend lifetimes learning to activate, or wake up, their kundalini. This is also called “achieving enlightenment”. When they succeed, a surge of super-heated energy goes up the spine, through the nerves, dilating blood vessels, and fueling itself with hormones. As kundalini continues to travel up the spine, it changes the functioning of the endocrine, cardiovascular and nervous systems. Not just in yogis, but in any woman who allows herself to become aware of it. Menopause is a kind of enlightenment. Hot flashes are kundalini training sessions.” Susan Weed

The yogis see menopause as a time of celebration of a time of deepening wisdom and insight. Released from our childbearing years, menopause is supposed to give us more freedom and to focus more on ourselves, to go after our passions and develop our spiritual awareness. Unfortunately the physical problems we encounter with menopause makes it harder to imagine or see it as a blessing.

As Susan Weed, noted above, ‘hot flashes are kundalini training’. Sometimes though, these hot flashes cause the kundalini to rise faster than it should, creating a variety of unpleasant symptoms, such as: rushed heat, electric current, emotional or physical release, inner sounds, visions, creepy feelings under the skin, and hallucinations, out of body experiences and even possibly fainting. All these sensations can be frightening and if a women is unaware of the cause can cause a mental breakdown. The kundalini needs strength to deal with it but not brute force but the strength of inner peace and belief in your fullest essence.

The kundalini is a current that moves you, it rouses, awakens, expands and brightens your energy. The clearer your energy the easier it is for others to find and gravitate towards you, to support, assist and help you and for you in turn to guide others.

Most doctors, psychologists and gynecologists do not recognize the kundalini phenomenon and will suppress it with drugs.

Clearing each chakra, is a safe way to start the kundalini process. As each chakra is clear of obstructing energy, each of the centers will be able to hold the rising energy comfortably. As the chakras open, we gain better health, emotional balance, and vitality, and as the energy rises naturally, our psychic abilities open and develop as well.

This is an abbreviation of the ‘Seven main Chakras’,

1st Chakra or Root – Survival, vitality, life force, self-preservation, instincts, success, grounding stability courage patience
Bodily Systems – Kidneys, adrenal glands, spinal column, bladder, colon, skeletal system, blood circulation
Imbalance – Insecurity, fear, self-centered, violence, greed, anger, tensions in spine, constipation, loss or failure.
Color – Red
Musical Note C
Healing Herbs: dandelion root, yellow dock, burdock, skullcap, peony, dianthus, wild lettuce, meadowsweet

2nd Chakra or Sacral – life-force, procreation, assimilation of food, sexuality, giving and receiving, feelings, desire and health
Bodily Systems – ovaries, testicles, prostate, genitals, spleen, womb, bladder, intestines, menstruation
Imbalance – mood swings, self-rejection, low esteem, addictive behavior, jealousy, envy, anger, blame, resentment, materialism
Color – Orange
Musical Note D
Healing Plants – calendula, pennyroyal, oregano, lady’s mantle, licorice, turkey rhubarb, wormwood, butterfly weed

3rd Chakra or Solar Plexus – personal power, authority, energy, self-control, warmth, humour, laughter
Bodily Systems – stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, nervous system, muscles, mucous, toxicity, calcium and lime deposits
Imbalance – ego, anger, overblown ego, appetite, insecurity, introvert, taking on too much, hate, fear, digestive problems, negative thinking, power and control
Color – Yellow
Musical Note E
Healing Plants – yarrow, borage, sage, skullcap, astragalus, lemon balm, chamomile, spilanthes, fennel, Echinacea pallida, winter onions, ginger,

4th Chakra or Heart – love, unconditional love, forgiveness, compassion, understanding, balance, acceptance, peace, openness, harmony
Bodily Systems – respiratory system (heart, lungs), immune system, circulation, liver, breasts, nerves
Imbalance – lack of self-love and acceptance, emotional instability, out of balance, heart problems, circulation problems, guilt, self-pity
Color Green
Musical Note F
Healing Plants – cinnamon leaf, hyssop, rosemary, juniperberry, spikenard,

5th Chakra or Throat – communication, speech, sound, creative expression, integrity, truth, knowledge, wisdom, sleep, gentleness, kindness, relaxation
Bodily Systems – thyroid and hormones, throat, chest, lungs
Imbalance, sluggish metabolism, weight problems, unable to express oneself, suppression, weak willpower, lack of trust
Color – Blue
Musical Note G
Healing Plants, red clover, blue vervain, hyssop, elecampane, lovage, lamb’s ears, thyme, coltsfoot, bells of Ireland

6th Chakra or Third Eye – higher self, inner calm, and oneness, bliss, spirituality, sense of wholeness
Bodily Systems – pituitary gland, left eye, nose, ears, mental health, sinuses, autonomous nervous system, cranium fluid, hypothalamus
Imbalance: eye problems, severe headaches, nightmares, insomnia, fear lack of concentration, conflict, doubts
Color, Indigo blue, purple
Musical Note A
Healing Plants: eyebright, rue, feverfew, mugwort, clary sage, gotu kola

7th chakra or Crown – higher self, inner calm and oneness, bliss, spirituality, sense of wholeness
Bodily Systems – pineal gland, cerebral cortex, central nervous system, right eye, upper brain
Imbalance: loneliness, lack of vision, confusion, depression, alienation
Color: violet, white, gold, silver
Musical Note: B
Healing Plants: Marjoram, Melissa or balm, eucalyptus, caraway, nutmeg, angelica, bergamot oil,

Meditation by Doreen Virtue – The Lightworker’s Way http://www.mysticfamiliar.com/archive/healingcircle/ar_hc_cleansing_your_chakras6.htm

Chakra Cleansing Meditation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEgLw6bTtxs

All Chakras Balancing Meditation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4GtPb3Y3vQ

A great site on the chakras http://www.pharrah13.com/Chakra.html

ENERGY MEDICINE

“It is not “all in your mind”; it is all in your energies. The emotions of menopause reside in the chemistries of our bodies, and they are powerful. At the same time, massive, cataclysmic shifts are retooling your body from a baby-making machine to an independence you never before could have imagined. While nothing is going to stop you from going through this tumultuous process, energy medicine can deeply support you during the transition and help you come out of it healthier, happier and more independent. By becoming adept at balancing your energies, you are better able to navigate your way into the gifts of menopause: empowerment, self reliance and freedom from the compulsion to cater to others needs or agendas for you.” Donna Eden ~Energy Medicine for Woman

Energy medicine incorporates alternative and holistic medicines. It’s interesting to note that in Chinese Medicine, the word Menopause means ‘Second Spring’. Second Spring is about accepting the fact that we age and change.

“Embracing a Second Spring requires our acceptance of aging and change. In our culture, we must contend with a great fear of death and aging that expresses itself in reverence for the fountain of youth. But in most Asian countries, many women do not suffer in menopause. This is partly explained by differences in diet and lifestyle, but I believe the main difference is that age is respected and valued in these cultures. This, of course, does not mean that at menopause one cannot be energetic, beautiful and vibrant. Rather, it is possible to be all these things at any age. Chinese Medicine celebrates the natural stages of our lives, including menopause, and offers techniques for a smooth transition.

Many of the discomforts that women experience in perimenopause are an expression of imbalances that have already existed in their bodies for years, sometimes decades.

For women who enter menopause after a hysterectomy, chemotherapy, or some other medical intervention, the symptoms can be more dramatic. Balancing the body with Chinese Medicine is also recommended in this case. Every situation is unique, as every woman’s experience is unique.” Dawn Aarons http://vitalitymagazine.com/article/second-spring/

Estrogen foods – all soy products are natural plant estrogens, others are wheat germ, alfalfa, sesame and sunflower seeds, chickpeas, red beans, greens peas, yams, eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, pumpkin, squash, beets, cabbage, carrots, apples, cherries, plums, garlic and parsley.

HERBAL RECOMMENDIES FOR MENOPAUSE
Basil, dill, evening primrose oil, wood betony, dong quai, vitex, black and blue cohosh, wild Mexican yam, red clover, ginseng, ginkgo biloba, St. John’s Wort, yellow dock, stinging nettle, cranberry, marshmallow root, uva ursi, vervain, motherwort, false unicorn root, licorice root, coriander, cumin

AROMATHERAPY
Geranium, rose, sage, chamomile, cypress, fennel, jasmine, neroli, eucalyptus, lavender, ylang ylang

VITAMINS & SUPPLEMENTS
Multivitamin and mineral supplement with whole foods and enzymes, Vitamin C, E B12, B complex, niacin, bioflavonoids, calcium, magnesium, boron, silica, manganese, potassium

Alternative healing, self-healing and meditation help to awaken the body to its highest potential. Healing creates a harmonious interaction with all parts of you; body, mind and spirit. Healing through Reiki, massage, Quantum Touch, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), and many other alternative therapies will not make your menopause go away. But it will help you to feel less tense and open up your inner energy and relieve you of the many fears associated with aging.

I’ve touched on as many topics as I can that are relevant to the changes in a woman’s body. There are so many other symptoms to look at that to cover them would be difficult and very challenging. There are many really great websites, articles and books out there to keep you uptodate with the changes you’ve felt. Just as the earth’s flowing life force shifts, so does yours. As you adapt to the natural changes in your body, you will project those feelings to others…and in so doing, this will affect other women, in a postiive way, going through the same thing.

Mary Shomon on about.com, regarding the thyroid
http://thyroid.about.com/od/thyroidbasicsthyroid101/u/symptomsdiagnosis.htm

A great article on perimenopause and menopause http://www.womentowomen.com/menopause/perimenopause.aspx?id=1&campaignno=perimenopause&adgroup=ag10info&keywords=what+is+peri+menopause

Many woman suffer from digestive problems at midlife http://www.drnorthrup.com/womenshealth/healthcenter/topic_details.php?topic_id=91

“The energy of healing: Thought forms http://spheresoflight.com.au/index.php?page=energy_healing

http://www.tarot.com/astrology/midlife-crisis#.UUCTReOwPzs.twitter

Re Where you invested your energy today.
http://www.myss.com/library/practice/evening.asp

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“An international scientific consensus is steadily gaining ground that points to Alzheimer’s as one of the diseases on the spectrum of auto-immune conditions, along with mutiple sclerosis, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis and many others.  Again, these are the diseases in which the body’s immune system turns against the self.  In autoimmune illness, there is a blurring between what is self and non-self–foreign matter to be attacked.

“Autoimmune aggression” is how Russian researchers recently characterized the pathological process in Alzheimer’s. …The inflammation of brain tissue in Alzheimer’s–called inflamm-aging by a group of Italian scientists–has been successfully slowed by the same anti-inflammatory drugs employed for the treatment of arthritis.  Spanish investigators have found immune-system components, including specialized immune cells and chemicals, in the brain tissue of affected patients.  Scientists have identified unique anti-brain antibodies manufactured by the confused immune system.  According to Austrian researchers, “There is little doubt that the immune system plays a role in the neurodegenerative process in Alzheimer’s disease.”” Gabor Mate, M.D. WHEN THE BODY SAYS NO

Scientists officially link processed foods to autoimmune disease http://www.trueactivist.com/scientists-officially-link-processed-foods-to-autoimmune-disease/

Alzheimers has been described by many Medical Intuitives as a way of withdrawing and shutting down from life.  I witnessed this myself , with my father,  who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the early 1990’s.

Dad was a business man, a father, a husband, a salesman and a world war II veteran. For more than 40 years he was an integral part of a huge corporation.  In his senior years with the company, his ambitions carried him to the Director’s position.

Father spent many days in quiet study concentrating, persisting on self-help and bio-feedback books his mind shuffling, distilling and ingraining the bytes of information. Words and phrases of great importance to him were underlined, recorded and analyzed. Doubts were aimed and fired back at his self image his habitual misdemeanors questioning his ability to play the game of  life.  Why and how did this  intelligent and soul-searching man’s mind and life switch off and shut-down?

METAPHYSICAL CAUSES

In Alzheimer’s……”there is a withdrawal of the life-giving emotional input (blood), resulting in deep mental trauma. This trauma may be an intense fear of what lies ahead in old age and death, so much so that there is a reversion to childlike behaviour and a shutting down of present-day awareness as a way of ignoring the future. This state has also been described as a preparation time, a period when we can play out our fears and fantasies while living in a semi-alive state, a state that can even border on keen awareness and understanding. Then, when death comes, it is not so fraught with the terror of letting go…” DEB SHAPIRO

***

Louise Hay claims “Alzheimer’s is a desire to leave the planet.  The inability to face life as it is.”

***

Compassionate Dragon http://www.compassionatedragon.com/metaphysics5.html also sees Alzheimer’s as rooted in fear.  He goes on to say…..“Alzheimer’s is a way of dying without actually going through the process. the brain shuts down over a long period of time. People who do Alzheimer’s are doing a rather intense drama not only for themselves but for those around them. It is a way of being the centre of attention in doing the drama of death. In a manner of speaking, Alzheimer’s is a way of staying on the planet long after the DNA programming says we should leave. Alzheimer’s may be seen as one of the down sides of modern medicine. It is one response to lengthening the life span by man-made means. Not the only response of course, and not necessarily a response we need to judge badly. Living on borrowed time, as it were, gives us second chances to learn the lessons we have come here to learn.

Life makes less and less sense. Brain diseases represent that which does not compute in our lives. So, life does not compute, and one retreats further and further from it until there is nowhere left to go but onto the next step. Alzheimer’s is another one of those diseases of the 20th century that appeared only rarely on the planet before. As more and more people choose this particularly dramatic way of exiting this life, I believe, we have more and more opportunity to grasp the role of spirit and the implications of overcoming DNA programming.

In other cultures in other times, such people were looked on with reverence. They were seen to be in direct contact with the spirit world. They were sacred and holy in a way, even if it made them crazy in this world.” **

It is confusing to try and understand the true cause of Alzheimer’s.  I’ve wondered if other factors could be involved, like a bacteria or even a virus that can hide in the body’s cells, undetected for years. Yes, I know that certain proteins (amyloid) as well as aluminum and flouride can contribute to this disease.  Cholesterol  and thyroid disease has been researched with Alzheimer’s too and of course old age.  But if the latter is true, why are some people being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in their 40’s and 50’s?

“Memory loss and cognitive impairment have a multitude of causes that have nothing to do with the effects of aging.  I have found that many patients with symptoms similar to those of early-stage Alzheimer’s or of age-associated memory-impairment, do not suffer from either of these maladies.  Aproximately 50 percent of all memory disorder patients actually suffer from a range of non-Alzheimer’s problems, including depression, repeated minor strokes, toxic reactions to drugs, long-term effects of alcoholism, brain injury, chronic fatigue syndrome, [Fibromyalgia] and severe allergies.” Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. “BRAIN LONGEVITY”

Alzherimer’s isn’t just a physical problem, it’s a cultural issue too.  Culture is steeped in human consciousness; it is the sum of our beliefs, attitudes, thoughts and creativity.  It determines how we cope with the world and how we react to everything that happens to us….it determines the way we think about getting old. Old age is supposed to be the best years of our life, yet we dread the thought of growing old and find ourselves being haunted by it.

Have the elderly in our society lost their respective role as wise teachers to the younger generations?   Is our generation too focused on preserving and holding onto our youth hoping death will pass us by?  Are we so afraid of getting old that we neglect, ignore and shun our elders, leaving them alone to die in nursing homes and hospitals?

So many questions to ponder!  Deb Shapiro talks of fear and fear can bewilder and disorient us to the point we think we’re losing our minds.  Adrenaline floods the limbic system of the brain, we feel intense terror.

When we have been through a traumatic event a mild form of shock takes over.  The bodily systems shut down because it can’t comphrehend…..it’s the body’s way of taking care of itself. And during that  time we feel spacey, fuzzy and unable to concentrate.  Eventually these bewildered fears go away as our adrenaline stabilizes and we feel ‘normal’ again.  But if we continue to focus on the fear, we create more adrenaline and cortisol which produces more bodily symptoms and confusion.  Is this what Shapiro is talking about?

Quoted from an excellent site on Dementia and Alzheimer’s http://www.brainbiocentre.com/content.asp?id_Content=1028

“When we are under extended periods of stress, our body produces the adrenal hormone cortisol. However although cortisol is a powerful anti-inflammatory hormone, raised cortisol can damage the brain and avoiding non-stop stress is therefore important for reducing Alzheimer’s risk . Prolonged stress can eventually lead to a lack of cortisol, which also increases inflammation. There is some evidence that an adrenal hormone called DHEA may be helpful in restoring a normal balance of adrenal hormones in those with Alzheimer’s with evidence of adrenal burn out.”

 

EMOTIONAL IMBALANCE AND DETACHMENT

“Alzheimer’s – Loss of power, inability to deal with life, too many suppressed emotions. Overwhelmed by life, wanting to run away to another time. Not wanting to remember or be present.  Feeling lost and confused”.  THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF YOUR BODY: The Essential Guide to Health and Wellness ~ Inna Segal

As we mature and evolve through life we learn to ‘tolerate’ the different point of views of others.  We detach/hide from emotional dramas, thinking of them as unnecessary burdens.  The problem with this is, we miss out on learning more about ourselves and our potentials of being human.  Closing off our many channels of communication, causes the thinking part of our brain to shut down instead of searching inside and outside for answers.

Suppressing our emotions usually makes them worse than what they are.  Keeping them inside holds us down causing confusion, despair and all sorts of diseases and  emotional imbalances.  Eventually they become internal wounds imploding and draining our lifeforce and crippling our spirit.

In actuality, the only person your hurting is yourself.   Stagnated emotions don’t go away. They sit in your auric field and in the muscles and cells of your body that makeup your energy.  This will begin resonating with similar patterns in your environment and with events or other people.  People will mirror to you what you’re holding back.  Instead of escaping from your emotions you will continue to take them with you, increasing as the years go by.  If you are holding onto a lot of pain, then your life will begin to reflect it back to you.  You will be projecting onto others your inner thoughts and emotions.

In the process of cutting yourself off from your pain, you will also cut yourself off from life and your body/mind will start degenerating. Your cells are constantly processing what you’ve experienced, so physically you turn into the interpretation you internalized.  Holding back your emotions and feelings causes depression, confusion; it reflects onto the surfaces of your skin, your blood becomes thicker, stickier and more prone to clumping.  The brains output of neurotransmitters becomes depleted, hormone levels drop, sleep is interrupted and this critically affects your balance, coordination and brain function.

Alzheimer’s is “the disease of the century….it is the worst of all diseases, not just for what it does to the victim, but for is devastating effects on families and friends.  It begins with the loss of learned skills, arithmetic and typing, for instances; it progresses inexorably to a totall shutting down of the mind.  It is, unmericifully, not lethal.  Patients go on and on living, essentially brainless but otherwise healthy, into advanced age, unless lucky enough to be saved by penumonia.”LEWIS THOMAS

My father passed away not from alzheimer’s but from what Lewis Thomas mentioned above, pneumonia.  I, like many others who have lost loved ones with alzheimers, questioned where and how this disease could have started.  There had to be an underlying psychological cause that affected  their  mental and emotional states.  Some of the things I did notice as my dad’s dementia progressed was severe mood changes, anger withhout a cause, impatience and snappiness. After his outbursts he seemed depressed, confused, lacked confidence and his overall appreication for life seemed lost. He craved silence, darkness, alienating himself from family, friends, as well as social and spiritual structures that had supported him in the past.  Why?

My dad believed in tradition and traditions have lost their flavor in the modern or ‘new age’ world.  The problem with losing old traditions is that new values and new beliefs haven’t been securely established yet.  This can leave our seniors and many people feeling disconnected, disoriented and unstable, especially if there is no solid frame of reference for them to fall back on. It has been said our world is accelerating and shifting into a new consciousness.  Although this may sound very esoteric, the earth and its people have been going through a social, political, economic and spiritual re-invention.  Religion has lost its stranglehold on society. Those that cannot tune into this new frequency feel disconnected, powerless.  Fears take over and fear also alienates and separates us from others.  

FUTURE SHOCK

 I’ve seen the future, brother; it is murder.” Leonard Cohen

 “Future shock is the shattering stress and disorientation that we induce in individuals by subjecting them to too much change in too short a time. Alvin Toffler”

 A couple of weeks ago, I was looking over the many shelves of a second hand bookstore and came upon an ‘old’  book called Future Shock.  Our future world of accelerating and radical change is NOW.

 Alvin Toffler spoke of increased human emotions and feelings, intensified violent crimes, more antidepressant drugs and serious mental illness.  He talked of heart palpitations, tremors, insomnia, unexplained fatigue, confusion and irritability.  Toffler also said we humans are  ’slow to change’ and not as adaptable as we should be.  This lack of flow and flexibility could be our downfall and the cause of many illnesses such as Heart Disease, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia and Alzheimers.

Unexpected change forces us into the unknown and the only control we have over this, is, how we handle it.

“The influence of the Aquarian energy, for both the individual and the collective, now brings not only the innovative and expansive into our lives, but also the erratic and unexpected.  This means that all of us must be expected to receive and handle change at a pace that was unimaginable a few decades ago.  For many of us, life now tends to feel chaotic.  The chaos comes from not being able to see clearly what direction to take.  The best way to adapt to this fast pace of change, is to trust the change will shift us into the right place.”  Joyce Petschek

Interesting!!! New Technology being developed for early detection of Alzheimer’s http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-03-technology-alzheimer-sxsw-prize.html 

“By monitoring the way a person moves their eyes, and watching how they view novel images versus familiar images, we’re able to detect perturbations that exist on the hippocampus,” Kaplan said, referring to the part of the brain that handles memory. 

The hippocampus is part of the limbic brain where our memories and histories are stored along with the emotional association with those memories.  During moments of extreme stress, the hypothalamus digs up our most wounded memories creating the flight-or-flight response.  It then alerts our sympathetic nervous system to increase our heart rate, breathing, muscle tension, metabolism and blood pressure.  Our hands and feet become cold as blood is directed away from our digestive system and tissue/organs into the larger muscles that help us either fight or run.  In other words some very important functions that keep the body healthy are being shut down.

Many people with persistent or chronic stress don’t see their intensity as being intense.  That’s because they lived their childhood and even their adult years in this heightened state.  People suffering from stress could reveal their hyperactivity in the brain, skeletomuscular, cardiovascular, and/or gastrointestinal system. 

“The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is particularly vulnerable to stress and stress hormones. Some researchers have reported that high cortisol levels are linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease…While cortisol levels fluctuate through the day, they often soar when a person is faced with a stressful situation. Studies have shown this stress also affects memory..[for instance] people taking cortisone pills which change into cortisol in the body were not good at remembering a list of words as people taking placebo pills.” The Encyclopedia of Alzheimer’s Disease by Carol Turkington, Deborah R. Mitchell 

 

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Much of the carbohydrates we eat are processed into triglycerides which are supposed to be converted into energy. When we eat more carbohydrates than the body can use, the carbohydrates are still converted into triglycerides….then to fatty acids…then stored as FAT.

I found some great reading material on carbs and the roles they play as energy foods. (See the bottom of this paragrah) There is a BIG difference in the types of carbohydrates we eat. If we can reduce our intake of refined carbohydrates (sugar, pasta, rice, flour, cereals, etc.) this will definitely help to reduce our blood cholesterol levels better than eliminating fats from our diets.

Most of us city dwellers gravitate towards the multitude of shops that cater to the quick meal and sweet snack foods. Our overindulgence in mass produced foods is leading to illness, weight problems, diabetes as well as low physical and mental energy. With all the Listeria and bacterial scares of late, (especially in Canada), this seems to be telling us to limit our eating patterns of processed and refined foods. Are we listening?

“High intake of refined carbohydrates enhances the formation of VLDL cholesterol, or “bad cholesterol” and reduces levels of HDL, [ the “good cholesterol”]. Many metabolic studies have shown that high-carbohydrate diets increase levels of fasting triglycerides as well as increase fat deposits by facilitating the conversion of excess carbohydrates to fats. High blood glucose and increased insulin output are associated with a high carbohydrate diet can also lead to high blood pressure, as well as inflammatory responses that are predictive of increased cardiovascular disease risk and can also cause digestive disorders and general discomfort.”
http://healthsolutionswellnesscenter.com/rc.aspx

Great links
The Role of Carbohydrates
http://www.pamf.org/health/toyourhealth/carbs.html

Refined Carbohydrates Up Diabetes Risk
http://www.pamf.org/health/toyourhealth/carbs.html

Refined Carbohydrates/Cholesterol/Diabetes/High Blood Pressure
http://healthsolutionswellnesscenter.com/rc.aspx

Carbs Are The Cause of High Cholesterol?
http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/Archive/Alt/alt.support.diabetes/2006-04/msg02873.html

Low Carbohydrate Nutrition
http://www.superdocdc.com/low_carbohydrate_nutrition.htm

FATS AND OILS

Fats and oils are collectively termed as LIPIDS. Fats are usually solid at room temperature and the Oils are in a liquid form. Lipids have another chemical name……TRIGLYCERIDES!

There are three basic types of LIPIDS…..Mono Unsaturated, Poly Unsaturated and Saturated.

Mono Unsaturated fats do not increase the cholesterol levels of the blood, examples of these fats are olive oil, and certain nuts such as macadamia, hazelnut, almond, canola, pistachio, peanut and sesame.

Certain polyunsaturated fats are known to have the ability to lower the cholesterol of the blood as well as the prevention of hardened arteries and heart disease. Sunfllower, corn, soy, peanut, all contain Linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that cannot be produced by the body and needs to be supplied by our diet. The problem with polyunsaturated fats is that they oxidize every easily. Oxidization occurs when the body lacks antioxidants……oxidation of goods lead to the release of free radicals which can alter cells and have been linked to the aging process and cancer. Also some polyunsaturated fats can be potentially harmful…specifically margarine, shortening and heated oils.

“Polyunsaturated oils are chemically unstable. This is because they have a number of loose, double carbon bonds in their atomic strucutre. When subjected to heat orair, they oxidize rapidly to form harmful free readicals. The more unsaturated the oil the more potentially hazardous it is in this regard. Examples of oils that are predominantely polyunsaturated are safflower, sunflower, soy, corn and walnut.

The most hazardus vegetable oils of all are the ones used in restaurants and deep frying. These oils are heated and reheated many, many times over. They are rancid, but you cannot taste or smell that rancidity because of deodorants that manufacturers purposely add……

Even the highly touted so-called ‘cold pressed’ oils can be potentially harmful. For one thing, many of them are procssed at a ‘cold’ temperature of over 100 degrees celsius. For another, as soon as they are exposed to air they deteriorate rapidly — and if heated their destruction is virtually guaranteed.”
David W. Rowland, PhD

Polyunsaturated fats can be as bad for your heart as saturated fats if a diet does not include a full complement of antioxidants. (see list below of foods rich in antioxidants)

Saturated Oils are found in meats, pork, dairy products, cheese and palm oil. Thse fats raise your total cholesterol level, especially LDL cholesterol, but they are not the cause of the heart disease. In fact these natural fats are known as stable and do contain tiny amounts of essential fatty acids. The thing is we can only convert a limited amount of Saturated Fats each day…..some will be eliminated from the body and some will be stored in various different areas of the body.

“All fats and oils are made up of a mixture of saturated, mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Calling animal fats “saturated fats” is very misleading, as many animal fats are actually more than 50% unsaturated, and chicken fat is actually 70% unsaturated. If a fat were completely saturated it would be very solid with the consistency of hard wax. For example, beef fat or tallow is made up of about 50% saturated fatty acids (25% palmitic acid, 22% stearic acid and others), 40% monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid, the main fatty acid in olive oil), and the balance polyunsaturated fatty acids (linoleic and linolenic, the ratio depending on the diet of the cattle).

Saturated fatty acids are critical to maintaining the structure and rigidity of our cells by making cell membranes out of phospholipids and cholesterol, and they act as enzyme and hormone regulators thereby playing an integral role in cell messaging. When the body is fooled and incorporates trans fats into the cell membrane instead of saturated fats, cell messaging no longer works, which is one of the reasons trans fats are so dangerous.

Saturated fats are necessary for calcium to be incorporated into our bones, so no-fat or skim milk won’t work as a calcium source, unless you eat some saturated fat in your meal. Saturated fats are needed to boost immune function, and to build a healthy nervous system and digestive tract. Saturated fats are the base material out of which the body makes cholesterol, which is the precursor to such critical hormones as vitamin D, cortisol, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone, as well as bile acids which are necessary for the digestion of fats. Fats also are needed as carriers for the fat soluble vitamins (the antioxidant vitamins), like vitamin A, E, D, K, and a low fat diet can lead to deficiencies in these nutrients. Saturated fats are also needed to be able to utilize omega 3 fatty acids easily. Breast milk is high in saturated fat for a reason – it is vital for the healthy development of the baby! Does it make sense that saturated fats which are vital for a baby are suddenly poison for an adult?”
From: http://trusted.md/blog/vreni_gurd/2007/04/06/saturated_fat_the_misunderstood_nutrient

So-o-o we need a healthy combination of monounsatured, polunsaturated and saturated fatty acids. Some of the best sources of fat in our diet are butter, olive oil, avocadoo il, peanut oil as well as eggs, fish and poultry. We need to avoid unprocessed meats and eat more of the natural occuring oils that are in nuts, seeds, and yes, the avocado.

Links

Why Saturated Fats are Good for You
http://www.preventionisbest.com/site/saturatedfat.html

Saturated Fat – The misunderstood nutrient
http://trusted.md/blog/vreni_gurd/2007/04/06/saturated_fat_the_misunderstood_nutrient

What if Bad Fat is Actually Good for You?
http://www.menshealth.com/cda/article.do?site=MensHealth&channel=health&category=heart.disease&conitem=a03ddd2eaab85110VgnVCM10000013281eac____

Good News on Saturated Fat
http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/21/good-news-on-saturated-fat/

Polyunsatuated Fats Are Not Good Cooking Oils
http://www.natural-cancer-cures.com/healthy-cooking-oils.html

Vegetables Oil Are Not Good For You
http://trusted.md/blog/wellness_tips/2006/07/09/eat_fats_the_good_the_bad_and_the_ugly_its_not_what_you_thnk

Fats in Nuts
http://fanaticcook.blogspot.com/2008/07/fats-in-nuts.html

Monounsaturated Fats
http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3045795

CNN – Fast facts on fats
http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/diet.fitness/07/22/cl.fat.facts/index.html

FREE RADICALS CAN BE CONTROLED BY FOODS RICH IN ANTIOXIDANTS

Some of these are……

VITAMIN E
Wheat germ oil, corn oil, soya oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, rapeseed oil, olive oil, wheat gern, hazelnusts, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, wild rice

VITAMIN C
Rosehips, black currants, parsley, kiwi, broccoli, sorrel, raw greens/red peppers, tarragon, cabbage, watercress, lemon, orange,

BETA-CAROTENE
Raw carrots, watercress, spinach, Mango, cantaloupe, apricots, broccoli, peaches, tomatoes, oranges, dandelion, parsley,

COPPER
oysters, beef liver, veal liver, mutton liver, mussels, cocoa powder, wheat germ, white beans, hazelnuts, dried peas, oatmeal, walnuts, sweetbreads

VITAMIN A
Codliver oil, liver, butter, cooked eggs, fresh apricots, cheese, salmon, whole milk, sardines, sour cream,

SELENIUM
Oysters, chicken liver, beef liver, fish, eggs, mushrooms, onions, whole-wheat bread, brown rice, lentils, sweetbreads,

ZINC
Oysters, dried peas, duck liver, brewer’s yeast, legumes, kidneys, eel, lentils, meat, whole-wheat bread.

POLYPHENOLS
wine, grape seeds, green tea, ovile oil, onions, apples,

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GIVING AND RECEIVING

The other day a friend asked me an astrological question regarding the North Node or True Node. As I attempted to answer her question, explaining the energies of both the North and South Node an interesting parallel to my last post came into focus. The Nodes are not planets but points where the Moon’s orbit intersect the Earth’s orbit. They signify the balance between receiving (North) and giving (South) in a person’s energy.

The North Node is connected to challenges, growth and moving beyond one’s boundaries…..it shows where we need to draw on other people’s support in order to reach our full potential. The South ‘on the other hand’ represents past achievements and shows us what we are already familiar with and can easily accomplish in this lifetime.

If these two energies are not in balance, there won’t be a link between our consciousness and unconscious, between mind and body, between spirit and psyche. Without this balance our heartfelt desires are deprived of bringing what we love into existence. We become stressed, frustrated, restricting the flow of energy to the heart, the most important central organ/muscle in the body. The fiery enthusiasm of the soul’s quest becomes depleted, losing its tremendous sense of pride and will. Instead of flowing outward from our center (self-worth), we find ourselves looking to others to help us decide our fate in the world. Our energy shrinks rather than expands affecting the heart and every organ, muscle, tissue, cell in the body. We lose contact with our vitality and our soul.

The adrenal glands, crucial in focusing our force of will, becomes exhausted causing wear and tear on the body. Instead of producing endorphins (happy heartfelt emotions) it produces an excess of cortisol, depressing the immune system, increasing blood pressure and cholesterol. High levels of cholesterol can cause calcium deposits to harden in our veins and arteries (cardiovascular system)…..our digestive system slows down, causing stomach ulcers, brittle bones, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, cancer, etc.

From http://www.worldwidehealthcenter.net/articles-415.html

Chronically excess cortisol may contribute to many diseases, including cancer, ulcers, heart attacks, diabetes, infections, alcoholism, strokes, skin diseases, psychosis, and possibly Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and myasthenia gravis.5 Cortisol excess may contribute to obesity not only because of the metabolic derangements (including insulin resistance) that it promotes, but also because it induces “stress overeating,”

The above site helps us to understand how cortisol when balanced, can enhance our system…..and too much, can deplete it.

This proves that giving and receiving, loving another and loving ourselves is crucial and vital to the health of our heart and soul.

In this section we’re going to look at several different methods of stimulating, transforming and implementing a change of heart. We’ll look at nutrition, stretching exercises, yoga, breathing exercises, relaxation, music, dance, etc. that will help us recharge our batteries, let go of tension, strengthen our will, our self-worth and our ability to give/receive and lovingly connect with others.

NUTRITION

FRUITS

The winter holidays wouldn’t be complete without the addition of cranberries. Hmm, cranberry juice, sauces and jellies are a delight with stuffing and turkey. In fact cranberries are considered a potent source of antioxidants which help to cleanse and purify the body and a protector of heart disease and even cancer. But wait a minute you say, cranberries are known to treat urinary tract infections……and now you’re saying the heart too? Absolutely!!

“Three glasses of cranberry juice just might keep the cardiologist at bay.
That’s the suggestion of a small new study presented March 24 at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans. Researchers from the University of Scranton suggested that nutrients found in cranberry juice can effectively reduce the risk of heart disease — in some cases, up to 40 percent — mostly by increasing levels of HDL, the “good” cholesterol. The juice was also shown to increase blood levels of antioxidant nutrients by up to 121 percent.”

http://preventdisease.com/news/articles/cranberry_juice_reduce_heart_disease.shtml

Also,

http://food-facts.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_health_benefits_of_cranberries
“Cranberries and Heart DiseaseBecause they contain flavonoids, studies reported by WebMD Medical News suggest that cranberries can be a weapon in the war against atherosclerosis, or what they used to call “hardening of the arteries”. Flavonoids help reduce the amount of bad cholesterol clogging the walls of your arteries while increasing the level of good cholesterol in your system.”

In fact if you google (cranberries) heart, you’ll learn a great deal about this fruit and its incredible source of nutrition, vitamins, antioxidants and as mentioned above, flavonoids.

Cranberries aren’t the only fruit that helps to heal the heart. Dark colored juices of grapes, beets and blueberries help to increase the production of red blood cells, supply the blood and tissues with potassiusm as well as eliminate accumulated salt from the tissues…..lowering blood pressure. Other fruits that drain out pounds of fluid (natural diuretics) are watermelon, watercress, pears, peaches and nectarines (to name a few). Citrus, black currants and grapes also helps in lowering blood pressure. Papaya contains an enzyme called carpain which has been seen helpful for the heart.

Potassium also helps in regulating the heartbeat and in combination with natural mineral Sodium (not table salt) helps to prevent hardening of the arteries. Pomegranates and its juice contains polyphenols (antioxidants) also combacts this disease as well as prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Fruits are the best cleansers of the body and 20-30% of our daily food supply should be fresh fruits. All fresh fruits are alkaline and vital for body development and repair….fruits store one of the greastest natural sources of energy on our planet….the Sun/Solar Energy.

Winter is a hard time to find fresh fruit…..frozen fruits work just as well.

VEGETABLES

We all heard the healing power of garlics and onions. Both of these are powerful in dissolving cholesterol and the gooey sludge that causes hardening of the arteries. Garlic also helps to increase the absorption of thiamine (B1)….without B1, or a deficiency of, we can suffer from shortness of breath and irregular heart beat.

B1 is found in many vegetables, some examples are artichokes, asparagus, avocado, brussel sprouts, dandelion, parsley, watercress as well as in rice bran, wheat germ, nuts and beans, etc..

Celery is a rich source of the important ‘natural’ mineral Sodium. Sodium is known to keep other mineral elements soluble in the bloodstream which helps to prevent a buildup of solid deposits. It also supplies the body with calcium, phospohorous, magnesium and vitamins A & C…..all of these help in the absorption and metabolism of calcium in the body. This vegetable and its cleansing action of the bloodstream is also helpful to those who struggle with weight problems.

Cucumbers improve circulation of the blood. Cucumbers contain an excellent source of vitamin E – the muscle vitamin. A lack of vitamin E slows down the effectiveness of muscles, especially the heart muscle. Vitamin E has recently been under alot of controversy…..

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,138184,00.html

“Vitamin E hasn’t proven to be good for the heart, and now a study suggests that too much vitamin E — daily doses of 400 IU or more — actually increases the risk of dying, according to new findings.”

Is the above statement true? I’m not sure….but food naturally containing vitamin E are safe! They help to improve circulation of the blood by dilating the blood vessels, even the smaller ones and also helps to nourish the cells, strengthen capillary walls and help in healing skin tissue that has been damaged. Vitamin E also helps to detoxify harmful pollutants we breathe in from our environment suc as industrial pollutants, exhaust fumes from cars, pesticides, chemical fertilizers and even preservatives.

I tried to find an intense list of vitamin E foods and couldn’t find them all in one place and decided to complile a list of my own….

Foods Rich In Vitamin E (not in alphabetical order)

Alfala Sprouts, Asparagus, Cucumbers, Avocado, Carrots, Lettuce, Grapefruit, Corn, Peas, Kale, Spinach, Brussel Sprouts, Chestnuts, Pumpin Seed, Wheat germ and wheat germ oil, Sesame seeds, Almonds, Hazel huts, Rice, Brazil nuts, Peanuts, Walnuts, Sunflowers Seeds, Oats, Pecan Nuts, Barley, Beans, Potatoes,

and I’m sure the list would go on……in fact a great resource for all vitamins and minerals can be found at this site http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/focus/nutrition/facts/vitamins_minerals/vitamin.htm

Brussel sprouts are an excellent source of antioxidant cartenoids (beta-carotene) that help protect our bodies from heart disease and cancer by boosting our immune system. They also help in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Broccoli as well is an excellent antioxidant http://www.phytochemicals.info/plants/broccoli.php

From http://www.alive.com/285a1a2.php?subject_bread_cramb=489
“The brassica family of vegetables, which includes broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower and brussels sprouts, is one of your most powerful weapons in warding off many common diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.

All fruits and vegetables are valuable sources of nutrients that fight disease. They are naturally low in fat, cholesterol, calories and sodium; but rich in potassium, fibre, folic acid, beta-carotene and vitamins C and K. In fact, it is estimated that cancer rates would drop 20 per cent if Canadians ate five to 10 servings of vegetables and fruit each day. And it is the brassica family that contains the highest level of disease-fighting substances per serving. “

JUICING

I bought a juicer years ago and used it faithfully for about 3 months. It had been sitting in my laundry room and recently was resurrected and moved back to the kitchen. Juicing is making a comeback…..in my life anyways. As I’ve learned more and more about raw fruits and vegetables and their potent healing powers of vitamins, minerals and enzymes, the more I am eating and drinking them.

There are loads of recipes on the net to start juicing your way to health. Below, are a couple to get you started. It is recommended if you’re going to buy a juicer to get the masticating juicer that chews up the plant pulp and extracts the juice. Electric centrifugal juicers are good too. Just make sure the blades are stainless steel and not aluminum…..aluminum can react with the fruit acids.

Cholesterol fighting juice and more http://www.healthmad.com/Fitness/10-Exotic-and-Healthy-Juice-Recipes.82062

http://www.healingdaily.com/juicing-for-health/juicing-recipes.htm

MEATS AND POULTRY

Another controversial topic! Are meats good for us? An excellent and rich site regarding the pros and cons of meat is here…

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-wellbeing/health-news/is-meat-good-or-bad-for-us-425192.html

It’s heading states…..”It’s the best natural source of iron and protein – but it has also been linked to cancer. Maxine Frith investigates the pros and cons”

This site also talks of meat being the best source of zinc, iron, protein and B vitamins. It talks of high protein diets and their advantages to weight loss.

It also talks of the different meats…..”The three official red meats are pork, lamb and beef. Pork is the leanest, lamb the fattiest and beef the most nutritious.”

Definitely an interesting read!

Too much meat can affect our bodies and our thoughts. Meat is said to have a contractive effect, making the body to focus inward and ‘tighten down’. Vegetables and fruits are alkaline in nature as is our bodies….meat is very acidic. Our cells live in an alkaline environment….as they work to keep you healthy, they naturally produce an acid that our body’s in turn eliminate through the lungs. It’s your body’s way of getting rid of the acid created and generated from your hard working cells.

Our goal is not to add to this acidity by over-eating acid producing foods such as meats, poultry, nuts and even too much fish. A balance of all essential food groups is necessary for optinum growth and health.

The best foods to combine with meats and poulty are steamed or cooked vegetables with leafy green vegetables.

My father suffered health problems, especially heart related most of his adult life. His will to live led him to discover what combination of foods were best to enjoy life and have better health. He eliminated certain foods in his diet, reduced the intake of salt, coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, processed foods and snacks high in fats. He ate a diet rich in cooked fruits and vegetables as well as raw (used a juicer)…..and less in the meat and poultry department. About 25% of his diet consisted of meat and poultry, which helped him to live over the age of 80.

I do believe poultry is valuable to the diet…..Chicken and their eggs offers us a complete source of protein…….turkey (and chicken) contains Tryptophan, an amino acid our bodies cannot produce on its own. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tryptophan

The holiday season is upon us and many will be cooking the traditional turkey dinner with dressing with cranberries – yum! It was quite timely to find this wonderful site on eating turkey http://chemistry.about.com/od/holidaysseasons/a/tiredturkey.htm and if it makes us sleepy. It does talk of turkey containing Tryptophan and includes the influence of carbohydrates, overeating, alcohol and fats contributing to that sleepy feeling.

FISH

“A word of caution: live fishes may absorb contaminants found in the waters. Methyl mercury and PolyChlorinated Biphenyls that fish absorb by fishes may cause harm.
Research says that pregnant women and children should limit their intake of high-mercury species like swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish, among others. Farmed fish like salmon have little mercury, but they may have PCBs.
Health Watch recommends peeling the skin and fat of the fish before cooking to minimise harm. They also suggest limiting the consumption of farmed and wild salmon. ” http://www.rediff.com/getahead/2005/apr/13fish.htm

Geez, everything we eat has a caution of some kind or another. With meat, we have Mad Cow Disease, with poultry the Bird Flu. However, adding fish to your weekly diet is still probably good for you, but I’d keep your protein intake at about 25% and the other 75% vegetables and fruits with a side of rice or potato.

Fish contains a high amount of the Omega 3 fatty acids and studies have shown it helps to lower cholesterol, prevents hardened arteries, decrease heart attacks and promotes a healthy circulatory system.

For seafood lovers, remember that crayfish, caviar, oysters, lobsters, crabs are very high in cholesterol.

“There are two fatty acids that are critical. They are ones deemed “essential” because we need them for our survival but our bodies cannot make them. We have to get them from food. They are linoleic acid (omega-6) and linolenic acid (omega-3) [polyunsaturates]. Without these essential fatty acids we perish. With enough of them (and in the presence of adequate vitamins and minerals), the body can manufacture all of the other fatty acids it needs –into arachidonic, gamma-linolenic, and many others……….

Our primitive ancestors had an answer. They were unable to extract oils from plants. They got all of the essential fatty acids they needed from the natural whole foods they ate, including poultry fat, animal fat, fish, avocado, egg yolk, olives, buter, nuts, and seeds and the like. There is wisdom in consuming our polunsaturates as part of the whole nut or seed, where nature’s package protects them from deterioration. It is risky to consume them as extracted and refined oils, in unnatural and potentially dangerous proportions……

Fish body oils contain unique polyunsaturates. The principal one of these is E.P.A. (eicosapentaenoic acid), an omega-3 fatty acid that has been demonstrated to improve the flow characteristics of the blood. It prevents blood cells from sticking together to form clots that might otherwise prematurely plug up the arteries. E.P.A. also tends (a) to reduce serum triglycerides and total serum cholesterol and (b) to increase H.D.L. cholesterol (the “good” kind). E.P.A. is nature’s “antifreeze”, to keep the fish’s body from stiffening up from cold temperatures. Therefore, the colder the water the fish lives in, the higher its E.P.A. content. Almost any fish will do, but the best sources are salmon, mackerel, cod, herring, haddock, trout, whitefish, oysters and squid.” David W. Rowland, The Nutritional Bypass

SUMMARY

It seems that more and more we are somehow being pushed away from the ‘processed’ food industry. Recently, in Canada, we suffered a Listeria scare (bacteria) with processed meats that became a nationwide problem. We are discovering if we want to be and stay healthy, the body needs ‘whole foods’ not processed foods that considerably reduce the nutritional value of its content….they are also very high in salt, additives and chemicals. The more chemicals we injest, the harder our bodies have to work to eliminate these harmful substances….what can’t be eliminated begins to buildup and create havoc in our system. And the body’s health and energy becomes more and more depleted.

Is Mother Nature trying to give us a hint that we were designed to eats food grown naturally from the earth and not processed by man? Indeed I think She is! The Earth provides us with fresh ready-made whole foods in the form of vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds and nuts. Fresh meat, not processed, is beneficial as well, although too much of it is hard to digest on the body.

As I have looked to eat healthier, I’ve noticed my tendency to eat foods given to me as a child as well as those common to my culture. As my knowledge of the different food groups and what they have to offer has changed, so have my eating habits. Some foods tried didn’t have such an appeal, but many others did. Learning the nutrient content of vegetables, fruits, legumes, etc. and eating them has helped to improve my health.

Do I still eat processed and quick fix foods? Oh yes, but not as much as I used too! I still treat myself to my favorite foods, pizza, chocolate cake and apple pie, yum…..just not as often!

Fast foods are so convenient with our busy schedules, we throw it into the oven and literally scarf it down. Something I have done with my meals is add celery sticks, cucumbers and other raw vegetables and fruits to the meal. Also, the Crock Pot has made a comeback in many homes. There are hundreds of recipes on the net that taste great and easy and simple to prepare.

Although supplements weren’t discussed in this blog, we do need to look at why we find ourselves taking them to feel better. The more I’ve learned about the different food groups and the gifts they offer, the more I have reduced my visits to the health store. We need to seriously look at why we take something to physically ‘feel better’….obviously something is amiss within our diet. Supplements definitely do help, don’t get me wrong, especially with the deterioration of nutrients in our soil caused by chemicals, pollutants and bug sprays.

The next section on this blog turns our attention on triglycerides, carbohydrates and fats.  Triglycerides are produced in the liver from carbohydrates.  They are also the fatty substance (lipids) in the blood.  Too much fat can clog our arteries as well as protein and carbohydrates.

to be continued….

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